Umlaut Big Band

Umlaut Big Bznd

© Léa Lanoë

The Umlaut Big Band is an orchestra of fourteen musicians. Since 2011, under the direction of Pierre-Antoine Badaroux, the band has been exploring both the historical repertoire of the Big Bands (1920-1940) from rare sound and manuscript archives, those of Mary Lou Williams, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter and other American and European artists, as well as a more contemporary creative repertoire with commissions to composers with an intimate relationship with jazz, such as Alexander Von Schlippenbach, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Axel Dörner, Bertrand Denzler and Joel Grip. They have developed a repertoire of over 200 pieces and released 5 albums in 10 years.

Following the example of the early music orchestras, the historical research of the group is based on the conviction that the arrangers, rarely put forward in the history of jazz, are creators who constantly invent new forms.

Too rarely approached by today’s composers, the Big Band format lends itself ideally to rich sonic explorations, a dialogue between a long tradition linked to jazz and contemporary forms of invention.

In 2023, the Umlaut Big Band becomes the Umlaut Chamber Orchestra to bring Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite (1945) to life in a new version based on a critical study of the original manuscripts.

Coming from a “generation of musicians ready to go from one extreme to the other of jazz” (Jazz Magazine), the group favors acoustics and warm atmospheres, from large concert halls to village squares.

In residence at the Théâtre de l’Aquarium (La Cartoucherie, Paris 12e) since 2019, at the invitation of the company La Vie Brève.

Members of the band

Pierre-Antoine Badaroux
artistic director, alto saxophone

Antonin-Tri Hoang
alto saxophone, clarinet

Pierre Borel
tenor saxophone, clarinet

Geoffroy Gesser
tenor saxophone, clarinet

Benjamin Dousteyssier
alto, baritone and bass saxophone

Brice Pichard

Pauline Leblond

Gabriel Levasseur

Alexis Persigan

Michaël Ballue

Romain Vuillemin
guitar, banjo

Matthieu Naulleau

Sébastien Beliah
double bass

Antonin Gerbal

Mathieu Galy
production, booking, tour manager