Aside from his work with the Voice Messengers, on jazz operas, and for vocal jazz workshops, Thierry Lalo finds time become involved in other interesting projects. From the writing of a biography on pianist John Lewis (published at Limon Editions in 1991) to original compositions for the thousand singers of the Choeur d’Orange (created for the Théâtre du Chatelet in January 2014), along with a few years at the head of the Big Band des Universités de Paris (2004-2008), Thierry Lalo’s taste for discovery, experimentation, and the transmission of a sincere passion for jazz is the driving force behind these diverse projects.
Thierry Lalo is the author of a comprehensive biography of pianist John Lewis (1920-2001), published in 1991 at Editions du Limon, as a part of the Mood Indigo collection. As founder of the widely celebrated MJQ (Modern Jazz Quartet), John Lewis indelibly marked the history of Jazz. He played with other great, high profile musicians such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and many more.
« This book is an incontestable success. » Xavier Prévost (Guitare et Claviers - February 92)
« Lalo is a pianist and true musician, impassioned by his subject, and in his analyses we sense a fraternal jubilation… Some ideas lead a difficult life, and it will certainly be difficult to listen to John Lewis in the same way after Lalo’s book. » Arnaud Merlin (Le monde de la musique - March 92
« It is in using the simplest words that Thierry Lalo touches that which is most essential in the universe of John Lewis. » Jean Wagner (Quinzaine littéraire - April 92)
« The title could have been: ‘How to Love John Lewis?’ But this depiction agrees with the man (.) This monograph will be the reference. » Nicolas Béniès (Rouge March 93)
« For Thierry Lalo, this book is a first run at literary authorship. We now know just how masterful a first run can be. » Edouard Huber (famille chrétienne, March 92)
Created at the initiative of the Association Orchestre et Chœur des Universités de Paris (OCUP, Choral and Orchestral Association of the University of Paris), in partnership with the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris and the Paris CROUS, Thierry Lalo was invited to be musical director from the Big Band’s inception, in September 2004.
Made up of young talented musicians, this orchestra allowed students to participate in a high quality Big Band, playing “classic” arrangements of the genre, from Sammy Nestico (with the Count Basie Big Band), Bob Mintzer, Quincy Jones and other first-rate arrangers discovered by Buddy Rich in the 1960s such as Matt Harris.
In 2013, the Fondation Orange called upon Thierry Lalo to write two original compositions for its choi. This group is composed of over 1000 employees spread throughout the French territories, and has come together once a year since 2010, when the singers were first placed under the direction of Didier Grojsman for La Nuit de la Voix (The Night of the Voice).
Written to text by Cécile Rigazio on the universal theme of childhood and education, these two pieces, respectively entitled Maintenant (Now) and Passer les Clés (Passing on the Keys) premiered on the 21st of January, 2014, at the occasion of that year’s Nuit des Voix, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The Choeur d’Orange was accompanied by Thierry Lalo (p), Raphaël Dever (b) and Mourad Benhammou (dms) for this first performance.
- From 2003 to 2011: four or five training modules per year for the salesmen of the FNAC, organized by the Avance Rapide organization.
- February 2007: Paris (75) – musical conference for the federation A Cœur Joie.
- April 2007: Lausanne Opera (Switzerland) – 2 days in partnership with the FNAC Lausanne.
- June 2008: Biarritz Media Library (64) – musical conference.
- March 2009: Chartres CNFPT (28) – Public servants training.
- August 2009 & 2010: Argenton-sur-Creuse (36) – in the context of CEPRAVOI vocal workshops.
- March 2010: Bourges CNFPT (18) – Public servant training.
- Understanding the origins of jazz, resulting from the marriage of African and European influences rooted in the 19th century in the United States, and the music’s evolution over time.
- Relaying specific notions of different styles and currents within the history of jazz, their historical context, their articulation across different musical influences, the place of certain musical determinants…
- Giving certain musical anchors (blues, charts, chords, improvisation, structure of an arrangement, etc.) permitting a more fine-tuned and analytical approach to listening to jazz.
- Active and analytical listening to musical excerpts from each time period. Discographic elements.
- Some examples given at the piano in order to illustrate theoretical propositions.
- Projection of rare videos for the illustration of the attitude and manner of major musicians (Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane...).
- Open dialogue and question-answering.
Relevant time periods are approached in chronological order, through musical and sociological angles. The psychology of different generations of musicians gives numerous elements that contribute to a more profound understanding of a music that is inseparable from the attitude and social situation of the players that defined it.
- Origins (three centuries, from 1619 to 1917): How African slaves in the US appropriated the religious music of the American South.
- The Blues: Father of jazz, the blues has its own parallel history with its own players all through the 20th century.
- The birth of jazz (1915-1930): The context of New Orleans, first recordings. Louis Armstrong, master of the genre.
- The Swing era (1930-1940): First “classical” period, marked by large orchestras, the emergence of professional arrangers and great solo improvisers.
- Bebop (1940s): Evolution or revolution, an integral step in the history of jazz, centered on some key names: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell…).
- The fifties: Second “classical” period, dominated by the “hard-bop” aesthetic. The respective paths of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
- Free-jazz (1960s): Origins, sense, context…
- The flipside of Free Jazz: The influence of Bill Evans and the partners of Miles Davis.
- The electric year of 1969: Founders and innovators of electric jazz, jazz-rock…
- Jazz today: Universality, creativity, a multiplication of aesthetics and experiences throughout the world. A history in motion, where classicism and modernity converse and exchange.