Lost on the Way

Louis Sclavis

A new year, a new Sclavis quintet – this one born out of the wish to continue the work begun back in 2005 with "L’imparfait des langues" (and retaining guitarist Delpierre and drummer Merville from that project) and to invent new musics in which to lose oneself. To uncover fragments of memory by chance, while chiseling at new ideas. Track titles allude to the voyages of Ulysses. Sclavis: “I wanted to travel somewhere unknown, letting myself be blown from Scylla to Charybdis by mastering the winds and the torrents of return to re-evoke a history” – along the way looking at aspects of jazz, rock and modern composition from unfamiliar perspectives.

Featured Artists Recorded

September 2008, Théâtre de St.Quentin-en-Yvelines

Original Release Date


  • 1De Charybde en Scylla
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 2La première île
    (Louis Sclavis, Olivier Lété)
  • 3Lost on the Way
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 4Bain d'or
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 5Le sommeil des sirènes
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 6L'heure des songes
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 7Aboard Ulysses's Boat
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 8Les doutes du cyclope
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 9Un vent noir
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 10The Last Island
    (Olivier Lété)
  • 11Des bruits à tisser
    (Louis Sclavis)
  • 12L'absence
    (Louis Sclavis)
Jazzman, Choc du mois
Stereo, CD des Monats
He is one of the most gifted woodwind players around but brings to his work such a wonderful sense of possibility and potential. Lost On The Way is no exception. … Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, the record is one of Sclavis’ most hard-edged and rock-oriented. Powerful rhythms underpin everythind and Olivier Lété’s electric bass and François Merville’s drums time and again suggest the treacherous waters that Ulysses must negotiate to return finally to Ithaca and Penelope, his wife. … That few artists could carry in their music and performances material of this weight and magnitude is obvious. But Sclavis is certainly one – magnificent.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise
Sclavis’s adept use of instrumental colour and sinewy melody is well-showcased. But robust yet supple rhythmic elements characterise most of his music these days: Lété gels perfectly with Delpierre and Merville … to sustain an irresistible momentum. This edition of the band continues to benefit from a wide range of experience, from rock to classical, and Sclavis’s superb clarinet has a stimulating partner in Metzger’s alto.
Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine
Douze confrontations avec la matière sonore qui permettent à Louis Sclavis et à ses musiciens d’effectuer un veritable travail d’écriture suggestif. Une evocation musical d’un état d’égarement, de flottaison et de quête. …
Un fantastique moment d’égarement métaphysique et la confirmation d’un groupe solide et inspire don’t on espère d’autres epopees musicales.
Lionel Eskenazi, Jazzman
Louis Sclavis ist ein fantastischer Klarinettist und Sopransaxophonist, dessen Individualität in der Phrasierung immer wieder von einer äußerst geglückten Symbiose klassischer und jazziger Einflüsse zeugt. … Charakteristisch für den Sound des zum Teil neuen Quintetts um den französischen Erkunder imaginärer Folkloren aus Lyon ist zum einen das oft sehr straigth-binäre Schlagzeug- und Bassfundament Françoise Mervilles und Olivier Létérs sowie die stupenden Interaktionen zwischen Sclavis und Mattieu Metzger… Es ist eine ganz spezifische Sensibilität in dieser Musik am Werk, eine französische Eleganz und Spritzigkeit: vitale Musik mit Esprit und Hintersinn, die wesentlich leichter klingt, als sie faktisch ist.
Alessandro Topa, Jazzthetik
Louis Sclavis setzt den unangestrengten Mittelweg fort mit einer Jazzversion zwischen moderner Kammermusik und Rockigem. Alles gewürzt mit einem Schuss „folklore imaginaire“. Die Bassklarinette singt, und die Saxophone klingen fast wie Englischhörner. Die prägnanten Themen und Arrangements werden offen improvisiert fortgesponnen.
Jürg Solothurnmann, Radiomagazin

“Lost on the Way” marks a new chapter in Louis Sclavis’s eventful journey through music’s borderlands. Regularly referenced as one of the pioneering exponents of a ‘European jazz’, the Lyon-born clarinettist, saxophonist and composer has investigated and explored a broad swathe of music - and other arts - in largely intuitive and non-dogmatic ways. His story is by no means all about jazz: on disc, he’s paid homage to Duke Ellington, but also to Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, to filmmaker Charles Vanel, to painter/collage artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest. At different times his spirit of inquiry has brought him into the orbit of free improvisers, folk musicians, interpreters of contemporary composition, and more. Sclavis stands out today as one of the players who has found his own clear voice – making international music from a European perspective, inside an ever-changing ensemble sound. Reinvention is a big part of his work, and with each release he redraws the map of his music.

With “Lost on the Way”, Sclavis turns to Homer for his titles, likening his voyage to Ulysses’ long journey home: “This new project was born out of the wish to continue the work begun with the preceding quintet on "L'imparfait des langues" [recorded 2005], and to invent new musics to play and to lose oneself in. Finding by chance, some fragments of memories, and chipping off the new ideas. Discovering like Ulysses new fears and new pleasures on the way. I wanted to travel somewhere unknown, without a plan and to formulate the journey into music, letting myself be blown from Scylla to Charybdis by mastering the winds and waves of return to re-evoke a history”. On “L’imparfait des langues” Sclavis had been stimulated by the energy of a new team of young players who brought elements from noise-rock, funk, electronica and free ambient music into the group sound. Of those players, eruptive guitarist Maxime Delpierre has been retained for “Lost on the Way”, as has long-time associate François Merville, whose beats, in this context, are often hammeringly direct.