Eric Longsworth

(Website)

Through magical hands or bow, the cello resembles a guitar, bass or percussion instrument. American virtuoso Eric Longsworth replaces classical tradition with the free resonance of the electric cello, played with a very personal touch: the artist plucks, pinches and caresses the strings. Thriving on emotions and symbols, his music tells stories that can move a wide range of audiences. His focus on improvisation links him to the musical universe of jazz. The sounds of his instrument are inspired by many musical currents from all over the world – and this openness to diverse cultures and influences allows him to pursue a very personal style of creating and playing music. Eric Longsworth’s first album, a solo recording entitled I hear you, was produced in Québec, Canada, in 1997. Whether alone in the studio or solo on stage, the artist, through his unique way of playing his instrument, becomes a raconteur: he takes his audiences on a journey of sensations, emotions and musical discoveries. His work is all at once intimate, unabashedly original and filled with surprises. An acute sense of rhythm and composition and a rare skill for creating an ambience allow this extraordinary player of the non-classical cello to coax innovative sounds, as well as melodic passages and unusual harmonies from his instrument.Longsworth was born in the United States, in 1959. He lived and worked in Montreal for 15 years. The composer and cellist has carved his own niche within the musical world, somewhere alongside jazz, world-beat and new music. Longsworth’s singularity originates in his choice to pursue a divergent musical path, radically different from classical instrumentalists, and to explore unconventional ways of imparting spirit and vibrations to his instrument. A student of Gary Hoffman and of the great Janos Starker, at the University of Indiana, Eric Longsworth discovers jazz with David Baker, one of the most renowned North-American teachers. The cellist’s classical training leads him to play with diverse musical ensembles in Houston, including the symphony and chamber music orchestras. A decisive one-year stint at the jazz workshop and InterArts program in Banff finally allows him to concentrate entirely on improvisation and musical discovery. The artist, who admits that as a youth he always wanted to make music “differently”, leaves classical music in order to explore new musical techniques and expressions. Following a series of concerts and participation in numerous events on the Canadian, U.S. and European musical scenes, the artist forms a duo with renowned American bass player Marc Johnson and releases a second album If trees could fly, in 1999. With obvious delight, the two musicians combine their talents and their mutual passion for narrative music and embark on a musical dialogue, the cello and bass subtly weaving a truly original conversation. Again, the album meets with enthusiastic approval from critics and audiences alike. The CD is released in Germany, on the Intuition label. The artist also continues to compose soundtracks for movies (L’Odela, Toutatis, Alice in Wonderland…) and for radio broadcasts, participates in numerous recordings and concerts, and leads improvisation workshops for string instruments. In the spring of 2001, Eric Longsworth returns to the studio with compositions for three instruments: the electric cello, the accordion and percussion. The genesis of this project is Longsworth’s encounter with French accordionist Daniel Mille. Following his own distinctive path, Mille brings the accordion closer to jazz by playing it as though it were a wind instrument rather than a keyboard, creating sounds resembling the saxophone. Eric Longsworth completes the trio with talented Canadian percussionist and musical accomplice, Pierre Tanguay. Throughout each composition, Longsworth, Mille and Tanguay explore the emotional power of their instruments’ sonority, balancing fresh, graceful and spontaneous jazz improvisation with an ever-present sense of melody. The resulting recording, entitled Sans souci, is first released in North America. The European release of Sans Souci has taken place in May 2003, through the European jazz label Enja Records. Eric Longsworth has now settled in the South of France and is active with a number of projects, including one with virtuoso guitarist Sylvain Luc, and with many concerts solo as well as in trio, quartet and quintet format, across the country and beyond.A new album is in preparation.

Albums

Sans Souci

Label: Enja Records - CD 46-2
Distribution in France: Harmonia Mundi
Release date: May 30, 2003

Through magical hands or bow, the cello resembles a guitar, bass or percussion instrument. American virtuoso Eric Longsworth replaces classical tradition with the free resonance of the electric cello, played with a very personal touch: the artist plucks, pinches and caresses the strings. Sans Souci is the genesis of Longsworth’s encounter with French accordionist Daniel Mille. Following his own distinctive path, Mille brings the accordion closer to jazz by playing it as though it were a wind instrument rather than a keyboard, creating sounds resembling the saxophone. Eric Longsworth completes the trio with talented Canadian percussionist and musical accomplice, Pierre Tanguay. Throughout each composition, Longsworth, Mille and Tanguay explore the emotional power of their instruments’ sonority, balancing fresh, graceful and spontaneous jazz improvisation with an ever-present sense of melody.

Eric Longsworth - Sans Souci

I Hear You

Label: Pascale Graham/Canada
Release date: January 01, 1998

I Hear You c’est en 1997 que la sortie de cet album solo a pris tout le monde de court, raflant la palme des meilleures critiques. Et l’on comprend pourquoi ! Un album solo vibrant au seul et unique son d’un violoncelle électrique, créant les rythmes, les mélodies et les harmonies, et ce sans qu’on espère la batterie, il fallait le faire. Audacieux ! Oui, mais surtout talentueux. « Eric Longsworth, compose et joue du violoncelle électrique avec un entrain communicatif et un humour plein d’imagination… » Le Monde, 11 juin 200

Eric Longsworth - I Hear You