Having repeated solfeggio’s first grade and received strokes on the fingers by his cello teacher at the music conservatory in Caen (Normandy), Etienne de la Sayette naturally turned himself towards an exciting career as a medieval archaeologist. But then he heard Ornette Coleman and decided to do something else: he will be a jazz saxophonist! Carefully meditating on the mysteries of the altered pentatonic and the tritonic substitution, he very soon feels the need to play his own music and to bring in multiple influences: afrobeat, spoken word, Balkanic fanfares, Celtic, Indian and Korean music, Asian pop, etc.
He then starts off his first bands: Human Beings, a joyful acoustic funk-jazz group and Gulab Ja Moun, a chamber jazz fanfare. At this early stage, Etienne de la Sayette’s talent as a producer begins to emerge: he knows how to gather the right people in the right place, organize a musical project, give an artistic impetus, take control of all aspects of a musical production (arrangement, composition, sound, visual identity). Curious and always looking for new sensations, he travels a lot (India, Balkans, Ethiopia, Korea …), collects exotic instruments, invents a video/music cadavre exquis (first expression of a growing interest in music for films and stage music), launches a radio show (“Des Oreilles avec des trous dedans”, on Radio Libertaire from 2005 to 2018). However, he is not reluctant to sometimes bring his own playing to the music of others (Blundetto, Armand Amar, Charlelie Couture, Ti Jaz, Wunderbar Orchestra, The Dance of the Dog, etc.).
When Human Beings disbands, Etienne de la Sayette starts Frix, a quartet in which he indulges shamelessly in his longtime passion for vintage keyboards (Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, etc.) and vocal samples (the voice of Frédéric Mitterand, an American sex education manual of the 50s, an extraterrestrial invasion movie …). French daily newspaper Libération praises “one of today’s most thrilling French band” and the great German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung sees in Etienne de la Sayette “a future big name of French jazz”!
In the meantime, Etienne de la Sayette meets trumpeter Paul Bouclier, a kind of alter ego with whom he starts a band devoted to their common passion: Ethiopian funk music of the 70s, discovered through the Ethiopiques series. Akale Wube hits the mark and spreads its groove around the world: Addis Ababa, Shanghai, New-York, San Paolo, Seoul, Johanesbourg, London, Berlin, Warsaw, etc., often in the company of wonderful guests: Girma Béyéné, Mahmoud Ahmed, Manu Dibango, Julien Loureau, Vincent Peyrani, etc. The songs of the beloved Korean singer Bae Ho provide the matter for his other quintet, Baeshi Bang, which brings the 50’s K-Pop back to life, but without singer and in a modernized and refined setting: saxophone, french horn, piano, drums and guitar.
Since 2015, Etienne de la Sayette also produces his solo albums and original soundtracks in his gorgeous studio: ProTools, reel-to-reel tape-recorder, Neumann, Beyer and AKG microphones, 72 flutes from 14 countries, 15 vintage keyboards including an East Germany Vermona, 1 Japanese piano, 5 saxophones, 2 clarinets including a Turkish one, 1 drum kit, 0 virtual instruments plugins!