Paul Lay – piano / compositions / arrangements
Olivier Garouste – video-maker / mapping
Billie Holiday was one of the greatest jazz singers of the last century. She was great because her voice and her music are the reflect of her feelings and experiences. More than a voice, when you are listening to Billie Holiday, you are listening to a soul, you are hearing a heart, and you can perceive a scream from a troubled childhood and her relentless struggle against racism.
Billie Holiday was a myth, and a myth is always difficult to be described… However that is what the pianist Paul Lay and the video-maker Olivier Garouste are trying to show you, with this unique and vibrant tribute to one of the greatest legend of the XX century and especially for her 100th birthday.
Olivier and Paul have known each other for 9 years. In 2015 they work on a tribute to Billie Holiday whose hundredth anniversary of birth had just been celebrated.
They came up with a performance where music and video interact (v-jing and piano) around Lady Day’s songs and music pieces of her social circle (Lester Young, Jimmy Rowles, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw), some of which she was strongly fond of.
These songs are played on the piano by Paul Lay and enlightened by Olivier’s video which portrays Billie and her friends and also offer footage from her concerts. From time to time the sound of her voice arises, sometimes sung, sometimes spoken (accounts of rare interviews), while Paul Lay’s improvisations mingle.
This project premiered in 2015 at la Folle Journée de Nantes and obtained the support of Dominicains de Haute-Alsace (CCR) in Guebwiller. In 2016, it evolves within a residence at the Dominicains and performances for schools and for a general audience take place in this beautiful cutting-edge venue. In 2017 performances are given at the Pôle Culturel in Mont de Marsan, Trident in Cherbourg, and at the festival French May in Hong Kong.