The Parisian quartet featuring Clément Thirion on double bass, Franck Morin on piano, Renaud Védie on guitar and Patrick Chenais on drums. Natural Element Quartet offers a bewitching mosaic of harmonies, elegantly fusing jazz tints, contemporary nuances and improvised accents.
Clément Thirion – double bass, compositions
Born in Paris in December 1977 into a family of passionate music lovers, Clément Thirion plunged into the world of music by learning the piano at the age of 8. Attracted by the energy of rock and influenced by the iconic sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Cure and Frank Zappa, he turned to electric bass, which he explored with passion. The bewitching charm of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and above all John Coltrane eventually won him over, taking Clément Thirion into the depths of jazz. This immersion drives him on a relentless quest for musical mastery, tackling instrumental techniques, harmonies and rhythms with dedication. His steps led him to the C.I.M., where he perfected his bass under the guidance of G. Bioteau. The American School of Paris then welcomed him, marking the beginning of his double bass apprenticeship with Peter Giron. After proudly graduating from the American School, the call to improve led him to pursue a DEM at the Conservatoire de Versailles, under the guidance of Sylvain Beuf and Jean Bardy. During this time, his mastery of the double bass deepened, and his love of classical music and jazz grew stronger. Paris jazz clubs such as Le 38 Riv’, Le Sunset, le Bataclan and le Bab ilo became his stages, where he shared his music with Nicolas Sergio, Jeff Sicard and Stephen Binet, exploring diverse formations such as the Lyric Trio, Inner Space Trio and the Clément Thirion Trio. A collaboration with the Ioan Streba Quartet led to the album Gipsy Blues in 2019. A composer since the age of 22, Clément Thirion is involved in developing concert programs in tribute to musical legends such as Bill Evans, Radiohead and The Police. His compositions have been performed by the Inner Space Trio and the Natural Element Quartet. He shares his knowledge by teaching bass and leading orchestral workshops.
Franck Morin – piano, compositions
Franck Morin, born in 1976 in Bernay (Eure), discovered his first musical notes at the age of 7. The organ was his first companion, before he turned to the piano. Guided by a passionate Rhoda Scott teacher, he explored not only the classical repertoire, but also ragtime, stride, blues and boogie woogie. His talent led him to win a unanimous first prize for improvisation at a piano competition in Argentan. As a teenager, his fascination with drums took hold, and he immersed himself in the world of Blues Rock, Rock and Pop. His first group experiences were forged at college, and this collective energy evolved into an association for the promotion of contemporary music. During this period, Franck Morin also took up the guitar. The group TIM was born and produced four albums that captured the essence of an independent era in the 1990s, resonating with names such as Shellac, Tortoise, Fugazi and Slint. At the age of 23, Franck left to study piano at the M.A.I. in Nancy for a year, under the tutelage of Pierre Alain Goualch among others, before settling permanently in Paris. He spent several years in Pascal Gaubert’s jazz workshop at the Conservatoire du 10ème arrondissement, before honing his piano skills with Benjamin Moussay at the Conservatoire du 13ème. These years of dedication were crowned by a C.F.E.M. Jazz diploma. At the same time, he obtained a degree in musicology from the University of Paris 8. October 2008 marked his entry into the Didier Lockwood School, where he continued to perfect his piano skills with Benoît Sourisse. His studies at the school also include a Master 1 musicology thesis on Duke Ellington Pianiste. His time at the C.M.D.L. gave him the opportunity to familiarize himself with the jazz trio. Today, Franck Morin shares his expertise by teaching piano and playing with the Natural Element Quartet, the Régis Igonnet Quintet and the Franck Morin Trio. However, he never forgets his attraction to other curious musical experiences with groups such as TIM, Chapati Club and Red Band Sound.
Renaud Védie – guitar, compositions
Renaud Védie, born in 1966, began playing guitar at the age of 20. After mastering the nuances of classical guitar and experimenting with different emotions in the world of rock, he passionately discovered the rich textures of jazz and improvised melodies. Under the tutelage of Pierre Cullaz and Malo Vallois, he absorbed the teachings that nurtured his growth. Along the way, he joined various ensembles, from intimate guitar duos to big bands. Increasingly drawn to improvisation, he became involved in a mosaic of collective projects, sailing under the enlightened direction of Guillaume Orti, Thierry Madiot and Camel Zekri. This trajectory naturally led him to explore free improvisation in depth, particularly in the context of theater and contemporary dance. At the same time, he keeps a foot in the jazz world by leading his own trio. After a period of retirement from music, the early 2010s saw him join the ranks of the Jazz Big Works orchestrated by Jean-Claude Pernoud, where he crossed paths with the talented Franck Morin. In 2017, their collaboration gave birth to the Natural Element Quartet, a new musical adventure. Renaud Védie shares his musical passion between the quartet and a constellation of one-off projects that explore the frontiers of improvisation and voice, bringing his singular touch to every note played.
Patrick Chenais – drums
After immersing himself in the world of percussion at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, obtaining a degree in musicology in Paris and completing a two-year course of study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, his musical trajectory has unfolded in multiple horizons: he embarked on electro-acoustic compositions in collaboration with Nicolas Frize, followed by groundbreaking musical performances in Paris. These “mixed” events took shape around an electro-acoustic device of finely crafted magnetic tapes in the studio, on which two percussionists (P. Chenais & Michel Risse) and a guitarist (Fred Chichin) gave birth to improvisations. These creations have also found their way into the theater and the world of images. His musical compositions have enriched productions such as “L’île du docteur Mario” and “Le secret de Livingstone” (directed by Mario Gonzalez), “Jurons que nous serons heureux” (D. Guihard), the 14-episode series “La vie de ma mère” for Antenne 2, “L’encyclopédie du dérisoire” for Arte, and the series “Soldats de Napoléon” for Channel 5. He has also collaborated with film composer Krishna Lévy. While at the Boston School, he co-founded the group Paris Denver (with Chuck Lamb, Jeff Warren and Francis Jacob), with whom he toured the United States. On his return to France, he obtained the Diplôme d’État de jazz and shared his knowledge in several conservatories. At the same time, he was involved in a wide range of musical groups and contributed to several recordings, including Grégoire Baboukhian’s “Selim s’évade”, Moréno’s “Électrique”, “Le peintre et l’enfant” and Bernard Mercier & Claude Razel’s “Les enfants du luthier”, and Ioan Streba’s “Balkan jazz”. He has shared the stage with a host of musicians including Jeff Sicard, Jacques Labarrière, Christine Combe, Ilenes Barnes, Moreno, Gilles Clément, Patrice Galas, Jean Philippe Bordier, Nicola Sergio, Ludovic De Preissac, Noé Reinhardt, Olivier Defays, Bernard Mercier, Vincent Quinsac, Ioan Streba, François Popineau, and has performed in such emblematic Parisian venues as the Sunset, the Sunside, the 38 Riv’, the Studio de l’Ermitage, the Théâtre Hébertot, the Regard du Cygne, the Marcounet, the Baiser salé… He is an active member of various groups: he is part of the “Ailleurs trio” with Laurent Lecuyer, the “Inner Space Trio” with Nicola Sergio, on compositions by Bill Evans, “La Voie Ferré” which revisits the work of Léo Ferré with François Popineau on piano and arrangements, as well as the “Jazz Sessions” with Laurent Besse and Franck Morin.
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