Airelle Besson

Origin: France

Airelle Besson, the multi-award-winning jazz trumpeter, has been lighting up the European jazz scene for several years now at the head of her many projects: her quartet, her duo with Lionel Suarez and the Besson/Sternal/Burgwinkel trio.


new album in October 2024

Airelle Besson

About us

Trumpeter, composer and arranger Airelle Besson has made a name for herself on the European jazz scene with her clear, powerful playing, virtuoso but never demonstrative, at the service of emotion and musicality. Trained in both classical music and jazz, she says she is influenced by both Bach and Keith Jarrett. Winner of the Django Reinhardt Prize of the Académie du Jazz and the Victoires du Jazz in the category "French instrumental revelation of the year", Airelle Besson is as much a sought-after sideman as she is an established leader and composer.

A precocious musician

Born in Paris on 23 March 1978, Airelle Besson developed a passion for the trumpet at the age of four and waited until she was seven to start playing. In her teens, accompanied by her father, she opted for home schooling and put the study of music at the heart of her curriculum. In addition to the trumpet, she learned the violin and followed a dual training programme in classical music and jazz. After attending various conservatories, she studied musicology at the Université Paris-Sorbonne before entering the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where she graduated with a first prize in jazz. It was during a course at the Cluny Jazz Festival (Jazz Campus en Clunisois) with the trumpeter Jean-François Canape that she made the definitive switch to this music.

Between electronics and acoustics

After graduating from the Conservatoire, Airelle Besson teamed up with saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet to form Rockingchair, a quintet with a rock and electronic edge. The group released two albums, Rockingchair (2007) and 1:1 (2011). In 2014, Airelle Besson transformed her long-standing friendship with guitarist Nelson Veras into a poetic acoustic duo with the album Prélude (Naïve Records). The album was a huge success and the two musicians toured internationally for several years.

Between small and big orchestras

In 2014, Airelle Besson formed her own quartet with Isabel Sörling (vocals), Benjamin Moussay (keyboards) and Fabrice Moreau (drums). Their debut album (Radio One, Naïve) has been well received by the press and public alike, and is a delight of strength, balance and clarity. All the melodic power of Airelle Besson's compositions and her talent for harmonising voices are elegantly displayed. Her second album, TRY! will be released on 5 February 2021. At the same time, Airelle Besson is devoting more and more time to composing and arranging. In 2014, the English band Metronomy asked her to do the arrangements for their album Love Letters. In 2020/21, she will be in residence at the Cité musicale-Metz, where she will work with the Orchestre National de Metz on a new programme combining classical music and jazz. She will also perform with the Big Band de l'Union de Woippy.

Throughout her career, Airelle Besson has played in groups led by others, most notably in Charlie Haden and Carla Bley's Liberation Music Orchestra in 2006. She has also played in duos with Vincent Ségal and Lionel Suarez, in a trio with German musicians Sebastien Sternal and Jonas Burgwinkel, and in Lionel Suarez's Quarteto Gardel with Vincent Segal and Minino Garay. In all these formations, as well as in her own groups, Airelle Besson stands out for her ability to say a lot in a few notes; in her playing, lightness and delicacy rise above classical rigour. Airelle Besson's style is one of the best that French jazz has to offer.


Associated Projects

Line-up: Airelle Besson : Trumpet - Lynn Cassiers : Vocal - Benjamin Moussay : Piano, Fender Rhodes, bass synth - Fabrice Moreau : drums

With their new album Try, Airelle Besson and her musicians continue to explore the paths of sensitive jazz. Carried by the pure, powerful voice of Lynn Cassiers, the improvisations and dialogues between trumpet, piano and percussion create a music that is luminous, ethereal and delicate.

Discovered by the general public in 2015 with her critically acclaimed album Radio One ("Revelation" at the Victoires du Jazz awards), Airelle Besson's passion for the trumpet dates back to her earliest years. A love of the instrument has made her one of the most awarded jazz trumpeters in the world. Musician, performer, orchestrator, producer, arranger (notably for the famous British pop group Metronomy): Airelle Besson is the embodiment of the French jazz revival.

Concerts on the frontiers of free jazz and pop, enhanced by Airelle Besson's improvisational talent, pianist Benjamin Moussay's melodic contributions, Fabrice Moreau's spellbinding rhythm and Lynn Cassiers' subtly dazzling vocals. There's a natural understanding between these four, their music born of multiple influences, but also of a shared passion: that of offering us suspended, universal moments where trumpet and song respond or melt in unison.

 Try draws swirls between light and shade, hot and cold, inviting us to take an aerial and sensual journey. Organic and lively, this bewitching album will accompany you on your journey.



Découvrir Airelle Besson quartet

Line-up: Lionel Suarez : Accordion - Airelle Besson : Trumpet

Airelle Besson, a multi-award-winning jazz trumpeter, has been lighting up European stages since 2015 at the head of several projects: duos, quartets, and even an orchestra.
Lionel Suarez has become the essential accordionist who has rehabilitated his 'classical' instrument into a fertile interface for all kinds of music.

An intimate duo, their compositions and improvisations are characterised by a blend of tenderness, danceable spirit and complicity... A rare combination of the brilliance of the trumpet and the mellowness of the accordion, combined with the liveliness, even the explosion, of Airelle's daring proposals and the sensitive inventions orchestrated by Lionel. It's worth emphasising just how much these two have a knack for natural simplicity, quickly shared with an audience in complicity. For while their virtuosity is amply established, it would not inspire the same enthusiasm without the captivating melodic and narrative qualities of this generous recital.

Découvrir Airelle Besson - Lionel Suarez Duo

Line-up: Airelle Besson : Trumpet - Sebastian Sternal : Piano, Fender Rhodes - Jonas Burgwinkel : Drums

The trio was born on stage a few years ago, during a tour with Ricardo del Fra. In pianist Sebastian Sternal and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel, Airelle Besson found the perfect companions for her delicate music. They share the same sense of elegance and pleasure in listening. This capacity for abstraction in favour of the collective makes this trio much more than an addition of talents, it creates an eminent ensemble.  Their minimalism gives rise to a richly coloured palette of sounds. The implicit is palpable, the rhythmic powerful and bewitching: like a trance, their music transports. As musicians in great demand, their concerts are rare, and all the more precious for that.

Découvrir Besson - Sternal - Burgwinkel Trio