Dominique Pifarély Quartet

Dominique Pifarély Quartet © Jean-Baptiste Millot (mention obligatoire)

Dominique Pifarély, violin | Antonin Rayon, piano | Bruno Chevillon, double bass | François Merville, drums

(Engl.) Featuring some of the most talented musicians on the European jazz scene, all of whom had previously crossed paths with the violinist in the course of his career, this virtuoso, exceptionally homogeneous quartet charms with its ability to respond every time in a different way to the sometimes contradictory orders and desires of a leader who is more than ever preoccupied with the challenge of balancing freedom and constraints, individual and collective expression, formal sophistication and spontaneous improvisation. The music on offer here is sharp, lyrical, sensual and abstract, very finely drawn in its outline yet of great fluidity in its formal developments, successfully blurring the line between what’s scored and what’s improvised. And so, endlessly reshuffling the balances and guidelines in spontaneous collective “re-compositions”, Pifarély and his bandmates explore an extraordinary diversity of atmospheres, ranging from long meditative sequences interspersed to magnificent escapades with no ulterior motive but the simple pleasure of playing, aware of the necessity to periodically reassess jazz’s unique reliance on personal freedom to fuel an inherently democratic collective expression.

(Fr.) Composé de quelques musiciens parmi les plus talentueux de la scène jazz européenne, ce quartet virtuose et d’une extraordinaire homogénéité, séduit par sa capacité à répondre de façons chaque fois différentes aux injonctions et désirs parfois contradictoires du leader, plus que jamais occupé par le projet d’articuler liberté et contraintes, expressions individuelles et collectives, sophistication formelle et improvisation spontanée. Dominique Pifarély propose ici une musique âpre, lyrique, sensuelle et abstraite, à la fois très finement dessinée dans ses contours et d’une grande fluidité dans ses développements formels estompant définitivement les limites entre les parties notées et celles ouvertes à l’improvisation. Redistribuant indéfiniment les équilibres et les lignes de forces en « recompositions » collectives instantanées, Pifarély et ses compagnons explorent ainsi une extraordinaire diversité de climats, passant de longues séquences méditatives à de magnifiques échappées belles renouant sans arrière pensée ni distanciation avec le plaisir simple de la dépense, conscients de la nécessité de (re)mettre périodiquement en jeu cette façon décidément unique qu’a le jazz de se nourrir de la liberté individuelle pour alimenter une expression collective fondamentalement égalitaire.


  • «  Everything a Pifarély band plays sounds as if it has a rich and reflective old and new music history to it.  » (John Fordham, The Guardian).
  • «  The instrumentation makes this look like a jazz quartet, but it’s mostly only jazz in that space where free improvisation meets the New Music world […] Dominique Pifarély’s “provisional traces” are sometimes elusive, but they make far more than a trace impression. He and his band move through these textures and themes with assurance and grace.  » (Mark Sullivan, All about jazz).
  • «  ‘’Tracé Provisoire” is terrific in it’s mix of composed, avant garde and jazz elements. The music constantly shifts shape and adventurous listeners will be thrilled by the unknown territories each piece travels over the course of 63 minutes. A quartet of uncommon invention, the fearlessness of exploration carries with it the feel of an inspired live gig in a studio setting.  » (CJ Shearn, Jazz Views).

press kit “Tracé provisoire” (fr, eng, ger) (pdf)



Dominique Pifarély Quartet “Nocturnes” – Cleanfeed Records (2021)

Any new recording by French violinist Dominique Pifarély is good news. Being his quartet with Antonin Rayon, Bruno Chevillon and François Merville his more enduring band, this former companion of the also French reedist Louis Sclavis benefits from the maturity of this project, gained through the years, but also from an attitude of always reinventing itself, going to places that were’nt explored before. Interesting would be to compare this “Nocturnes” with “Tracé Provisoire”, the album recorded by the Dominique Pifarély Quartet for ECM. If this previous one had the undistinguishable mark of Manfred Eicher’s production, the first evidence of difference when listening to “Nocturnes” is in Sound. More is to come, even if there’s similar poetic atmospheres and, as a composer (and a particularly brilliant at that task), Pifarély continues to put his writing at the service of the collective and of their improvisational work, be it the ensemble or the individual solos. Besides the pleasure these four exceptional instrumentalists give to our ears, the way in which the composed and the improvised intermingles in these collection of pieces is a very strong factor of enthusiasm.

Clean Feed Records* 2021

Dominique Pifarély Quartet “Tracé provisoire” – ECM Records (2016)

Pifarély is a musician who thrives in the unstable territory between improvisation and composition, and his pieces here establish ideas, structural elements and themes which encourage textural, lyrical and abstract improvising to develop in the moment. The interplay amongst the players is dynamic, exploratory and engaging, inspiring Dominique to fine and differentiated soloing. The free movement of energy is central to the music, which incorporates group improvising, luminous counterpoint, intense inner pulsations and open, lyrical expanses.This quartet was founded in the spring of 2014, but Pifarély, bassist Bruno Chevillon and drummer François Merville have been regularly crossing each other’s musical paths for a few decades. They are cornerstone players of improvised music in France and they’ve brought new impulses to it, other ways of thinking about freedom and form. The band is completed by pianist Antonin Rayon, making a first appearance on ECM.

ECM records 2017