Jean Jacques Millant is perhaps the most innovative and brilliant of 20th century French makers. This futuristic bow represents a high point in his craft – it’s a remarkable player and the condition is as new.
There are very few makers who succeed in re-imagining the violin bow, but Jean Jacques Millant had the confidence and the skill to do it. His work is always exquisite, but this personal model with the divided frog was really the first truly contemporary bow – and unlike so many design innovations, the aesthetic is completely successful.
Somehow this radical shape looks immediately natural – all parts complement each other, and the head and the frog soom to relate to each other in a way that you don’t see on a conventional frog.
Typically for Millant the head is a Peccatte model. The stick is of exceptional flamed pernambuco of a warm orange-brown, round section, mounts are gold and tortoiseshell.
The bow appears to be unused – there are no marks or defects whatsoever.
This is a visually arresting bow and uniquely collectable, but it’s also a tremendous player, much more in the vein of Henry or Simon than of the mid 20th century.
The sound is big, smooth and creamy. The frog design lends an unusual degree of stability to the stick, and the tracking is remarkable – these two things in conjunction add up to a bow which feels really secure, yet there’s also great clarity and articulation.
I took to this bow immediately – hard to pin down exactly what makes it special, probably it’s the absence of any weakness or irregularity. It does everything superbly, it can draw delicate wispy sounds out of the instrument but it also has big reserves of power and it seems impossible to over-play.
Slightly unexpected to find such a well-rounded “old school” sound in so radical package, but there it is – just a great bow!