Christian Escoudé

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Christian Escoudé (born 1947 in Angoulême, Charente) is a French jazz guitarist. He grew up in Angoulême and is of Romani descent on his father's side; his father was also a guitarist, influenced by Django Reinhardt. Christian became a musician at 15 and started work in a trio with Aldo Romano in 1972. By the 1980s, he was in John Lewis's quartet. He also played with Philip Catherine for a time. In his forties, he signed for the French division of Verve Records.[1]

Musical career[edit]

When he was 15, Escoudé began to develop his musical style, a mix of be-bop and gypsy jazz influences, featuring the use of vibrato, portamento, and fast runs.

At the Jazz Inn, which he first played in 1972, he met the trio of Eddy Louiss, Bernard Lubat and Aldo Romano. Later he joined Didier Levallet's Swing String System, and Michel Portal's Michel Portal Unit. In 1976, l'Académie du Jazz awarded him the Prix Django Reinhardt. He then formed a new quartet with Michel Graillier, Aldo Romano, and Alby Cullaz, the later soon replaced by Jean-François Jenny-Clark. He also worked (as free-lance) alongside Michel Portal or Slide Hampton, Martial Solal and Jean-Claude Fohrenbach.

In 1978, the Festival de Nice offered him the opportunity to record with the quartet of John Lewis as well as to play with Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Philly Joe Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, Shelly Manne, Elvin Jones. Starting in 1978, He participated almost every year in the Festival de Samois, organized in homage to Django Reinhardt.

In 1979, he performed at the Festival de Dakar, as guest of the René Urtreger's trio with Pierre Michelot and Daniel Humair.

In summer 1980, John McLaughlin invited him to tour in a duo set-up which took them to the United-States, Brazil and Japan.

In 1981, he became a member of the Martial Solal's big band. The following year, he performed in a quartet alongside Shelly Manne.

Back in France, he create a quartet with Olivier Hutman(claviers), Nicolas Fitzman (b, bg) and Jean My Truong (perc) - the last two were later replaced by Jean-Marc Jafet and Tony Rabeson.

In 1983, he started a duo with Didier Lockwood which turned into a trio in 1984 with the addition of Philip Catherine.

In 1985, he performed with Capon and Carter. He then created the Trio Gitan with Boulou Ferré and Babik Reinhardt.

In 1987, he played in a duo with Michel Graillier and then with John Thomas. He continued playing with the Trio Gitan, and again with Capon-Carter.

At the start of 1988 a new quartet was born with Jean-Michel Pilc, François Moutin and Louis Moutin. The following year, he set up an octet composed of four guitarists, (Paul Challain Ferret, Jimmy Gourley, Frédéric Sylvestre), accordion (Marcel Azzola), cello (Vincent Courtois), bass (Alby Cullaz) and drum (Billy Hart). In New York in 1990 he playeds at the Village Vanguard with Pierre Michelot, Hank Jones and the drummer Kenny Washington. In 1991, surrounded by a string orchestra, he recorded eleven compositions from Django Reinhardt.

In 1992, his "Gipsy Trio" Challain Ferret, Sylvestre[disambiguation needed] had some growth with Babik Reinhardt or Bireli Lagrene. The following year, in Los Angeles, he recorded with Lou Levy, Bob Magnusson and Billy Higgins. In 1998, he created and recorded "A Suite for Gypsies", a Jazz rock fusion composition dedicated to the memory of the children of gypsies who died in Nazi camps. In 2003, the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Django Reinhardt, he created a big band (17 musicians) with whom he explored the musical inheritance of Django while adding his own style and own harmonic and rhythmic ideas. In 2004 he set up "The New Gypsie Trio", a group of three guitarists (with David Reinhardt and Martin Taylor or Jean-Baptiste Laya).

In March 2005 he released the album Ma ya. Ya distributed by Nocturne, with his new sextet (Progressive Sextet) with: Marcel Azzola, Jean-Baptiste Laya, Sylvain Guillaume, Jean-Marc Jafet, Yoann Serra.

Under the label EmArcy, Verve's Parisian office contracted him for 7 albums from 1989 to 1994.



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