Denis Levaillant

Bienvenue au Palais Mascotte 1988

Concert piece adapted from the incidental music, for a jazz big band .

Trio Levaillant / Barre Phillips / Barry Altschul 1986

Jazz trio, with Barre Phillips (cb) and Barry Altschul (batt).

Around the Blues - Dance from Nowhere - Drive In - Time's Colours

Barium Circus 1984

Jazz sextet with: Kenny Wheeler, Tony Coe, Yves Robert, Barre Phillips and Pierre Favre.

Excerpt 1 - Excerpt 2

THE WIRE septembre 1985

Levaillant's Barium Circus skirts the world of Lautrec, Seurat and Les Enfants du Paradis.The overriding mood is elegiac and moumful, evoking the tears that conventionally lie behind the painted and spangled exterior of the circus world.Levaillant has assembled a band with a solid jazz pedigree (certainly the Anglo-Saxon half) and a equal interest in more formal musical procedures.There is more than sufficient episodic interest but the real merit of the piece is in its developing structure.

The pianist, one of the most interesting younger French composers, emerges as a solo player of considerable ability, always understated and economical, never less than acute in his judgement of the effective moment and phrase.

This is an unusual, uncategorisable album, a great deal more than the sum of its parts, full of interest and completely satisfaying.

Instable 1978

Concert piece for saxophones (S+T) and piano with Pierre Rigaud.


LIBÉRATION, 19 January 1979

Denis and Pierre: I Iike their way of making a bloody mess and playing themes that are as beautiful as tomorrow's classics.

I listen to their music like I listen to her voice when she speaks to me and I have only one desire: to throw myself into her arms.

Philippe Conrath


Pierre Rigaud and Denis Levaillant have played in the big bands of Lubat and bass-player Didier Levallet, but they especially like to get together as a duo. With Pierre on saxophone and Denis at the piano, they improvise on very melodic themes. They have recorded one of the finest discs of the year: Instable (distributed by Fluid Records, 22 bis rue Bellefond, 75009 Paris).

Philippe Conrath

JAZZ MAGAZINE No. 270- November 1978

This is nothing like those "madmen of free [jazz]". Here we are dealing with two well brought-up young men who like great music and pretty tunes and even the concern for playing 3-minute themes that you can hum... Dirty hypocrites, in fact! From time to time, when you least expect it, it gets out of hand, falls apart, and grates. Unstable? Certainly. Insidious and insolent? Without a doubt. With something that can make you think of the rage and lyricism of a certain Dollar Brand/Gato Barbieri encounter, they establish, in what we thought was nice salon music, a delirium without brutality. And this is only their first disc! An exemplary self-production.

Philippe Carles

Sabir Ensemble 1975

Jazz ensemble (2 saxes, trombone, piano, bass, percussion).

Le Masne, Levallet, Lemal, Levaillant.


No. 255 - June 1977

The project of the Sabir Ensemble is worth dwelling on because the music produced by the group grips our attention with its deliberate desire to avoid the structures imposed on the various and most common forms of jazz or free jazz. Indeed, each of the pieces performed demonstrated real musical thought on the level of collective work on timbre as much as on that of formal organisation.

Daniel Soutif

Le Borgne et le Manchot 1975

Concert piece for jazz ensemble (sax, tp, tb, bass, piano, synthetiseur and radio sounds).

Avenel, Rigaud, Méreu, Levaillant, Tamestit.

CHARLIE- HEBDO No. 242 - 3 July 1975

I'm delighted ahead of time at the thought of cops getting landed with an album of free jazz - which, I might add, is excellent - to hear the strongly felt lyrics to the glory of the French Army. It's not this disc that's going to convince you of the terrifying idiocy of weapons - that must already have happened. But you will spend some interesting moments in its company. It is always refreshing to know you're on the side of intelligence and talent - that helps get through varicose veins and early hours that are pale and sad.

Méchamment Rock