Hazzan is a Jazz creation embracing Jewish liturgical music, improvisational sequences and infectious rhythms. The name Hazzan means cantor in the Jewish tradition. It came to me from a Rabbi commenting on my performance of Adon Olam as a jazz duet for the Jewish French Foundation (FJF) in 2008. He said: »when you played, your notes sounded like a prayer. You are a hazzan on your saxophone«. This was 3 years after my father passed away, and since then I have decided to pay tribute to his memory by creating a project revolving around jazz music and hazzanout (the art of chanting Jewish prayers).
As soon as I started working on the arrangements, it became clear that these powerful ancient melodies lent themselves to impressionist harmonization and could be enhanced with infectious rhythms from the African diaspora (USA, Afro Caribbean, Gnawa). Armed with these founding elements, I researched Jewish traditions from Europe, the middle East and North Africa, selecting songs of contrasting colors to paint a mystical and uplifting fresco.
In »The Morning Star«, my father describes a character who - just like me - is a jazz musician from Jewish and Black descent. He refuses to be labeled half Jewish and half black and claims to be 200%: 100% Jewish and 100% black. I hope Hazzan will do justice to this conception of my Jewish identity as the blossoming fruit of universal cross pollination.