“Like a high-quality electronic product manufactured by the Panasonic Corporation, the career of
alto saxophonist Michaël Attias has always involved being slightly ahead of his time.”
– Ken Waxman, Jazzword
Michaël Attias has earned a reputation as one of the most questing and keenly collaborative figures on the 21st-century New York jazz scene, with a background and outlook that make him “an emphatically cosmopolitan saxophonist and composer,” according to The New York Times. Migrations spanning North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and the American Midwest ultimately brought Attias to New York City in 1994, where he continues to pursue his muse as improviser, composer and bandleader. The Village Voice described Attias’ music-making as, “perpetually shifting tunes, richness of timbre and a singular personality—you can almost see his music expanding and contracting.” As a leader, he has released eight albums, including the 2019 Out Of Your Head release échos la nuit (featuring Attias solo on alto saxophone and piano), and the 2017 Clean Feed debut of Attias’ Nerve Dance quartet. As a sideman, he has performed and recorded alongside some of today’s most original and compelling musicians, luminaries such as Anthony Braxton, Paul Motian, Oliver Lake, Anthony Coleman, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Kris Davis, Andy Milne, Fay Victor and a host of others. In New York City, he has performed at the Village Vanguard, the Jazz Gallery, Roulette, the Stone, Dizzy’s Coca Cola, the Winter Jazz Festival and the Vision Festival – as well and in countless other festivals, clubs and performance spaces around the globe.
Attias’ compositions have appeared on albums by Eric Revis, Kris Davis, Anthony Coleman, and the Wing Walker Orchestra, among others. In 2015, Attias was commissioned by Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation to compose From the Angel for full orchestra. He has written for big bands and a variety of smaller ensembles, including work with dancers and actors. He has also created live musical scores and sound designs for theatre, including several collaborations with the great theatre-making legend Robert Woodruff: Chair, Notes From Underground, Battle of Black and Dogs, Autumn Sonata, In a Year With 13 Moons — at Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Duke on 42nd Street.
Attias was named a 2000 Artists’ Fellowship Recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts, and was awarded fellowships at the MacDowell Arts Colony in Fall 2008 and Summer 2015.
From 2003 to 2008, Attias curated the critically acclaimed and highly successful “Nights of the Ravished Limbs” new music series at Barbès in Brooklyn, welcoming a wide array of established names such as Barre Philips, Tim Berne, William Parker, Mark Helias, and Jason Moran, as well as an impressive list of since-risen New York talent including Mary Halvorson, Eivind Opsvik, Gerald Cleaver, Tony Malaby, and many more.