Travis Laplante is a composer and saxophonist living in Brooklyn, NY, who is dedicated to remembering music’s original purpose and to bringing it back into modern consciousness. Laplante believes that music is magic that has the ability to transform life back to its true state. This requires the musician to have given his/her life to mastering the art of cultivating sound. Laplante is particularly interested in dissolving the separation between musical performers and listeners and transforming the physical space of the performance setting.
Laplante is known for his solo saxophone work, his tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance, and his long-standing band Little Women. He also currently works in projects with Trevor Dunn, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Formanek, Mat Maneri, Randy Peterson, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Matt Mitchell, Tim Berne, Herb Robertson, Tyshawn Sorey, and many others.
Laplante is interested in working with natural acoustics to create larger-than-life effects and experiences that go beyond the function of the human ear. He believes that music should be played and heard with every cell of the body, activating all of the orifices. Laplante explores the mysteries of resonance, timbre, natural harmonics, and overtones. He combines sonic textures that blossom into atmospheres that are seemingly greater than the sum of the individual components.
Laplante has a special interest in composing for saxophones, as he has been playing the saxophone since the age of ten. He has composed many solo saxophone works, most recently his large-scale composition "Palace of Wind," an album-length piece that was written for the Brooklyn-based saxophone quartet Battle Trance. Laplante utilizes circular breathing, multi-phonics, unusual key fingerings, and other extended techniques to create sonic atmospheres that are hard to believe are purely acoustic. The sounds of the instrument’s physical mechanics, as well as the beating of frequencies against one another, are often the rhythmic foundation of his writing. His compositions are meticulously crafted; however, he always leaves room for the performers to come alive, to be moved by a moment in time, and to take chances without fear. Laplante often integrates structured improvisational movements to reinforce that his pieces are living entities that should and will never be played the same way twice.
Laplante considers his work a form of medicine; however, he is deeply saddened by the musical paradigm that has effectively co-opted the designation "healing music." Often, this type of music acts simply as a relaxation aid, never touching upon the root cause of distress. Laplante believes that true transformational healing at the deepest level can only occur after having agreed to face the fear and weakness within oneself. This territory is present in his compositions, whether through the use of razor sharp altissimo to invoke his claustrophobia, a multi phonic that feels like the day when his best friend turned on him, violently stabbing articulations that feel exactly like his brutal mountain bike accident, long silences that expose how naked and uncomfortable he feels in front of an audience, or a specific vibrato that sounds like the first time he heard his father cry. Laplante aims to sonically shine light on these intensely emotional places within himself in order to outgrow them, at the same time offering the opportunity for growth within the listener.
"Solo saxophone albums aren’t as plentiful as, say, solo piano or guitar albums. As such, they are special. Yet no amount of listening to Anthony Braxton’s For Alto, Ken Vandermark’s Furniture Music or any of David S. Ware’s recent solo excursions could prepare me for the unaccompanied debut of Little Women member Travis Laplante. Heart Protector is a masterpiece that stands out in an already selective field…Heart Protector is one of 2011’s best."
"Overtones register almost as seismic events on “Heart Protector” (Skirl), Travis Laplante’s severe and haunting debut. It’s an album of solo inventions for tenor saxophone, arrhythmic and often atonal, but ripe with tension. There’s tremendous technical control behind what Mr. Laplante does here, splintering notes as if through a prism, using circular breathing for purposes of hypnotism." -The New York Times
"If you’re already acquainted with Evan Parker, John Butcher, Colin Stetson, and Mats Gustafsson, you’ll want to put Travis Laplante’s name on your list of must-see saxophonists."