Since Que résonnent les tambours and Abyss, Jacques Schwarz-Bart has assumed his dual identity as a black and Jewish jazzman (his parents are renowned writers; André, his father is of Jewish origin, and his mother, Simone, is from Guadeloupe) as well as his love of mysticism. Hazzan is no exception, even if this time the album leaves the voodoo halo to put the cursor on the Jewish liturgy.
It was after a rabbi told him, “Your notes sound like a prayer; you are like a hazzan with your saxophone” (hazzan being another name for the synagogue cantor) that he decided to create a cycle around jazz and hazzanut (the art of singing Jewish prayers).
A non-Jew may not necessarily identify with the themes that are part of Jewish liturgy However, to this listener it doesn’t matter as the themes nonetheless fit in to the field of jazz. Above all, they note that it is not a feverish and doloristic mysticism but rather a peaceful sound, inviting with its circularity to an elevation of thought, to a humanistic universality. If he feels any regret, it is from always being in the same register, waiting for a little roughness and rupture.
Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Hazzan (Enja / Yellow Bird)