“New York Sessions is a concept album. It was recorded during a stay in New York in the spirit of a mixtape, something like a sonic snapshot of the musical encounters I had there. The basic idea was to record one song for every artist I came across, reflecting their own style either by way of arrangement or composition.
Eclectic by design, New York Sessions is meant to be experienced as a journey across worlds, styles, languages, musicians, feelings…
The recording process mirrored the rhythm of the city itself, and except for the collaboration with Elysian Fields, each song was recorded within an hour, in one or two takes, spontaneously and without prior rehearsal: the musicians would discover the song in the studio. This made it possible to preserve a degree of spontaneity all too rare in today’s highly controlled recording world, and sometimes took the songs in unexpected, unthought-of directions. Urgency was therefore an inherent part of this record. These “live” takes were then overlaid with additional voices and a few (magnificent) Belgian musicians added the final touches to “La noyée” and “I Tried”.
Of the many gifted artists I met in New York, I am particularly grateful to Oren Bloedow, who kindly wrote a song for me with his band Elysian Fields; Ben Perowsky; Tony Scherr, Kenny Barron, whose participation relied in part on me being unaware of his real stature; and John Medeski (of Medeski Martin and Wood fame) whose reputation I was well aware of this time… I thank them, along with all the other artists who have shared a part of this adventure with me.
Finally, this album sees the light of day seven years after its initial recording, a delay due to life’s many twists and turns but also to my body’s rightful plea for some respite. It seems fitting to me that an album conceived in a frantic world, in a perpetual race against time, should have managed to reclaim its natural rights by taking time off to recover. Nature, it turns out, is still stronger than New York…”