Heir to an oral musical tradition, Jacky Craissac acquired international renown in the 1960s as a drummer and percussionist in modern jazz before becoming “master of sound”, creator of his instruments, genuine sound sculptures and his music.
Jazz: an international reputation
Jacky Craissac began a career as a professional jazz drummer and a percussionist in 1961.
Jazz… a musical style which fits well to his character and to his personality: improvisation gives him extraordinary freedom of expression and interpretation and personal creativity in interaction with the other musicians of the formation and the public.
All doors open to him. But in 1964, preferring travel to notoriety, contact with the public rather than studio work, he sets off to discover other cultures, other music and foreign musicians.
“A great time in my life!“, he said, “go, travel and play.”
Tours in France and abroad – From the sixties to the seventies
From 1962 to 1969, international tours followed one another. He takes part with a Swiss quintet, with several american jazzmen like Hal Singer, Bill Coleman, Al Lirvat, Lou Bennett, Ann Peter (singer of the Peter Sisters), Vince Benedetti, Dizzy Reece… Tours which lead him to Greece, Egypt, Turkey , Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Israel, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, West Indies, Morocco…
His first large group recordings took place in Rome in 1969 with vibraphonist Lorenzi as part of Folklore du Monde, then for the National Theater of Belgium in Athens.
He gives concerts on the Italian national radio and participates in the creation of film scores in Rome and Paris.
When he returned to Aquitaine, he performed at the Casino d’Arcachon, the l’Alhambra, the CNP Capitole (SIGMA jazz festival) and in the trendy Bordeaux venues of the time: La Cour des Miracles, le Chai, les Three Chairs, the Argentiers and the Jimmy.
He traveled through Europe from 1967 to 1970, first founding a trio, with saxophonist Louis Mialhe and double bassist Marc Berthet to which were added successively saxophonist Jacques Gouadin and pianist Éric Fontes to form a quartet and then a quintet.
For having played with him, Roger Lafosse, For having played with him, Roger Lafosse , director of festival Sigma in Bordeaux from 1965 to 1995, a great jazz lover and saxophonist, said: « had a solid and powerful tempo which carried the group well ».
During his tours and festivals, jazz critics distinguish him for his solos at festival de jazz de Palerme in Sicily, in 1966, Claudio Lo Cascio (pianist, conductor who has contributed enormously to the development of Jazz since 1956 in Sicily , professor at the university and at the conservatory of Palermo…) compares him to drummers Max Roach, Elvin Jones or Roy Haynes.
He was also hailed by critics for his performance at the Aix-en-Provence contemporary music festival in 1971.
An ex-bassist of Miles Davis and pianist Vince Benedetti, musician of Pharoah Sanders and Ann Peter, one of the Peters Sisters, hire him to go on tour..
In 1970, he won first prize for drums and percussion soloist at the Zurich Jazz Festival.
Jacky Craissac brings Modern Jazz to Bordeaux.
He gives concerts at the ORTF de Bordeaux with his trio and as a percussionist and drummer for the Jazz-Workshop orchestra de Bordeaux-Aquitaine conducted by Jean Courtioux.
« The“Jazz-Workshop” definitively took shape in 1966. Thanks to the reception of the regional station of the ORTF, it performed regularly and helped to expand the public of modern jazz until then limited to Bordeaux. The pillars are the companions of Jean Courtioux: Jacques Gouadin (sax), Louis Mialhe (tp, tb), Jacky Craissac (dms), Jean Bielsa (tp)… ”(SIGMA presentation of March 10, 1970).
Jacky Craissac is also interested in other forms of artistic expression.
He composes a ballet for solo dancer. Exploiting to the extreme the sonic possibilities offered by the drums, he composes the polyrhythmic music of a ballet conceived for solo dancer and drums entitled 1 + 1 = 1.
This ballet was presented for the first time in Morocco in 1966, in Portugal in 1971 as part of cultural exchanges between the cities of Bordeaux and Porto, then in France.
Critics emphasize the avant-garde and contemporary character of this creation.
At the same time, he begins to work in collaboration with contemporary artists, visual artists, directors, choreographers, writers.
His eclecticism and the originality of his pedagogical methods have brought him to the attention of renowned artists and teachers such as Mr. and Mrs. Rondeleux, professors at the Paris Research Institute and at the l’école Mudra of Maurice Béjart.
Subsequently in Bordeaux, the theater company Guy Lenoir, the Pyrenean ballet theater then the Bordeaux School Theater (1982) called on him.
The 1970s: a pivotal period
Jacky Craissac realizes that the sound of the drums limits his expression. He creates a unique and innovative acoustic sound universe made up of circular saws of various sizes, shells, barrels, drums and metal barrels.
And it was from the 1970s that his commitment and his quest for an inner sound guided him towards the acoustics of materials , harmonics, infra-bass and melodies.
He gave a solo concert in a chapel in the Landes where he stayed to live for two years. This experience is decisive for him.
What his instruments are made of
Sound and the present moment are essential. They guide the work on the material. Woods and skins participate in the same quest for sound as metal through the choice of essences, shapes, dimensions, and the selection of animal species. Through them, the life of sound and rhythm manifests itself free from all structures.
In this perpetual movement, with the same energy, he devotes himself to the making of his instruments.
He creates a first instrument then will follow Time 1, Time 2, the Sail, the Cloud, the Voice, the Egg, the Mother-of-pearl tree… These instruments will constantly evolve over time.
He makes, undoes, remakes, transforms, creates. Nothing can better meet his organic need for sound than his own accomplishments.
He therefore presents himself, solo, with his percussion ensemble.
In 1974, the contemporary SIGMA festival, which made Bordeaux one of the European avant-garde gatherings, gave him a place of honor to present his first creation Synthèse d’une vie par le rythme (Synthesis of a life with rythm).
He plays in the heart of an acoustic scenic space made up of about fifty instruments, heterogeneous materials and ethnic instruments which he says the sound joins him, the balafon, the darbouka and singing bowls.
He performs in solo concert with his percussion ensemble in Saint-Médard-en-Jalles (1974), in Rodez (1976), at the Forum Le Parvis in Tarbes (1976), at the Le Germinal café-théâtre in Bordeaux during the festival Off by SIGMA 16 (1980), at the Théâtre Fémina in Bordeaux (1984), at the Palais Jacques Coeur in Bourges (1985).
In 1978, he participated with his instrumental ensemble in a public creation at the Monolithe church à Saint-Emilion with the contemporary painters Morvan, Andréou, Guansé, Guerrier, Labégorre, Lapoujade. Multi-artistic experience (painting, music, poetry and exhibition) which he will renew in 1990 in Laure-Minervois near Carcassonne within the framework of Art and Wine.
In 1983, he created the music for the ballets Turbulent silence and Passante from the Sylvie Tarraube-Martigny choreographic research workshop presented in Aquitaine at the Abbaye of Arthous during the Abbey Festival and at the Jacques Thibaud conservatory in Bordeaux.
In June 1986, thanks to the support of Florence Mothe, writer, music critic from Sud-Ouest, producer of programs on France Culture and France Musique, Jacky Craissac was the subject of a report on the Antenne 2 program. A nous deux, the magazine of Patrick Poivre d’Arvor and gives two concerts at the Municipal Library of Bordeaux with the support of the city of Bordeaux and the Departmental Council of Culture.
In November 1987, Sigma 22 programs his concert Meditation in world creation in the Saint-Louis-des-Chartrons church in Bordeaux where the public discovers a new instrument, the Aïa, composed of a reactor part and rocket plates.
From April 1st to 25th, 1987, an exhibition is devoted to his work at Entrepôts Lainé by this same festival.
From the 1990s…
Here are some emblematic places where Jacky Craissac expresses himself with his ensemble of instrumental creations:
- In Brive (19-Corrèze) for a public painting – percussion creation with Jean-Jacques MORVAN, Official painter of the Navy, sculptor and poet in 1993 as part of Freedom in freedom . Highlight of an event which is a national first organized by the Center for Resistance and Deportation Edmond Michelet, the city of Brive and in cooperation with the National Education.
- In Bordeaux (33-Gironde) at the Théâtre Molière, Aquitaine stage in 1996 for a residency and in 1999 where he presented Inspiration Flamenca in homage to his grandfather and his great-grandfather.
- On order of the Ministry of Culture and the Regional Council of Aquitaine, in 1999 he created “Mélodie de sons” in his creation workshop in Escaudes, the music for the play Dialoguer-Interloquer by Xingjian GAO, writer, playwright , French director and painter of Chinese origin, Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000 for his book The Mountain of the Soul.
Play that will be presented at the Théâtre Molière, Aquitaine scene in Bordeaux in 1999, at the Théâtre de la Halle Festival Avignon 2001, in Paris…
- In Porto 2001, European cultural capital, at the Teatro Do Campo Allegre, within the framework of exchanges between the cities of Bordeaux and Porto. Jacky Craissac gives three concerts there, including one to official delegations from the cities of Bordeaux and Porto, in the presence of Mr. Alain JUPPE, Mayor of Bordeaux and the mayor of Porto.
- In Frankfurt and Darmstadt, in the courtyard of the Regierungspräsidium, in 2003 at the Süd Hessen summer festival. This event was part of the cooperation between the Aquitaine region (New Aquitaine) and the Land of Hesse. And also the partnership with the French Cultural Institute and the Gallus Theater in Francfort. He receives a very warm welcome and an excellent review.
- In Gradignan (33) in 2006 at the Théâtre des Quatre Saisons where he sold out.
His powerful and unique work, his transversal approach to music as well as his particular vision of art really have something of interest to the Music sector of the University of Bordeaux Montaigne and the Conservatory of Bordeaux.
- In Bordeaux in 2007 at the National Theater of Bordeaux in Aquitaine (TnBA) in a partnership between Conservatoire de Bordeaux and Musique de Nuit Diffusion.
- He is invited to the Days of Improvisation 2007 organized by VivaArte of the Music branch of the University of Bordeaux Montaigne.
- The Bordeaux conservatory is organizing the Night of Creation at the Bordeaux Museum of Contemporary Art, the CAPC with Jacky Craissac as guest artist on April 10, 2010 , on the theme « Cordes pincées et percussion » (“Plucked strings and percussion”).
On February 15, 2010, two months before this consecration, Jacky Craissac died discreetly, at his home in Escaudes.
Eager to pay tribute to him, the conservatory dedicates this evening to him and the CAPC welcomes the instruments he had chosen to play. Sequences of his works are shown in the large nave of Entrepôts Lainés.
VIDEO : DEDICATION 2010