Sylvain Luc at the Club Jazz Dunkerque
|Born||1965 (age 47–48)
|Genres||Gypsy jazz, swing, jazz fusion, post bop|
|Instruments||Guitar, Bass guitar, Cello, Violin, Mandolin|
Sylvain Luc (born 1965 in Bayonne, France) is a French jazz musician (guitar). His musicality, his great sense of improvisation and his virtuosity, and unique, technical abilities with the guitar have earned him high (but discrete) praises from all around the world, including from many musicians he has played with.
He is very regularly on tour, but very rarely makes appearances in high profile jazz festivals. As a result, he has little international recognition.
Childhood and musical studies
Luc was born in Bayonne, France, the youngest of three brothers. He studied at the prestigious Academy de Bayonne as a child, mastering the guitar, cello, violin, and mandolin. His two elder brothers (Gérard, the eldest, playing the accordion and Serge, playing drums) were both musicians who regularly played in balls. At the age of 4, he laid his hands on a toy guitar with only three strings left on it and was allowed to accompany his brothers on rehearsals. Even at such a young age, he was able to play accurate chords. As a result, he started touring with his brothers playing balls at a very early age.
Being immersed in a musical environment, he was regularly in touch with other musicians. One of them, the late Joe Rossi (who taught accordion to his elder brother Gérard), suggested that he to listen to (and offered him an LP of) Joe Pass (Portraits of Duke Ellington). This, and other encounters at his parent's home (in particular guitar player Michel Ducau-Lucart, who offered him his first guitar), led him to listen to, and appreciate, jazz music.
At age 9 he performed for the first time on an album with his brothers (Elgarrekin), and played in the first part of a concert of Joe Dassin with a local group. He also entered the conservatoire of Bayonne. While the guitar is his instrument of choice, there were no courses for the guitar at the conservatoire, so he chose to study cello instead, and gained a taste for classical music. Luc has commented that his study of the Cello helped him build strength in his fingers which was beneficial for guitar.
Beginning of solo career
At age 15, Luc formed a jazz group called the "Bulle Quintet," and quickly gained recognition. Two years later, in 1982, he and his group were elected laureate of the international festival of San Sebastian.
He quickly became the most sought-after guitarist and bassist in the Basque region, and began to tour regularly. In 1985, he met Marie-Ange Damestoy and became her guitarist, arranger and composer. Two years later, in 1987, they were nominated revelation of the Printemps de Bourges.
In Paris, and afterwards
In 1988, he came to live in Paris and became an arranger, composer and accompanist to many different French artists, including Al Jarreau, Catherine Lara, Michel Jonasz, all while being the bassist for the Richard Galliano trio.
Among the musicians he has played with are Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michel Legrand, Erkan Oğur, Richard Bona, Steve Gadd, Biréli Lagrène, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Stéphane Belmondo, Manu Katché, Michel Portal, Bobby Thomas JR, Andy Sheppard, Jacky Terrasson, André Ceccarelli, Jean-Marc Jafet, Alain Caron, Didier Lockwood, John McLaughlin, Bernard Lubat, Lokua Kanza, Richard Galliano, Ivan Paduart, Steve Lukather, Keyvan Chémirani, Billy Cobham, Victor Bailey, Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola and Tommy Emmanuel.
In 1999, he founded the Trio Sud along with André Ceccarelli and Jean-Marc Jafet, an ensemble with which he obtained the "French Music Award for Jazz music" as the best formation of the year in 2003.
Sylvain mostly plays Godin Multiac guitars, both the nylon and steel string versions. He also, but less frequently, plays with the Godin 5th Avenue series (he is seen with a black 5th Avenue guitar on his album Standards).
He also plays classical guitars.
Luc sometimes detunes the sixth (and even fifth) strings of his guitars (sometimes up to an octave below normal), both to emulate a bass sound while accompanying and to accompany himself in solos.
- 1993 Piaia, solo album;
- 1994 Petits Déjà..., with Louis Winsberg;
- 1999 Ameskeri, with Stéphane Belmondo;
- 2000 Piaia Naia, with Francis Lassus;
- 2000 Duet (Dreyfus Jazz), with Biréli Lagrène;
- 2000 Nahia, with his brothers Serge (drums) and Gérard (accordion);
- 2000 Sud (Dreyfus Jazz), with Trio Sud;
- 2002 Trio Sud (Dreyfus Jazz), with Trio Sud;
- 2003 Ambre (Dreyfus Jazz), solo album;
- 2006 Joko (Dreyfus Music, France), solo album;
- 2008 Young And Fine, with Trio Sud;
- 2009 Standards (Dreyfus Music, France), double solo album;
- 2009 Sumertime, with Biréli Lagrène;
- 2010 Original Album Classics, solo album;
- 2011 Organic (Dreyfus Jazz), with Thierry Eliez and André Ceccarelli;
- 2012 Best Moments (Dreyfus Jazz), with Biréli Lagrène;
- 2013 Souvenirs D'enfance (Just Looking Production), solo album.
- Official website
- Dreyfus Records - Sylvain Luc
- Sylvain Luc, Myguitarsolo.com
- Sylvain Luc, Joko | Jazz and blues, Guardian Unlimited Music, 8 December 2006
- Trio Sylvain Luc - Renaud Garcia-Fons - Keyvan Chemirani on YouTube
- "Sylvain Luc Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Sylvain Luc Biography" (in French). JustLookingProductions.com. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Guitar Virtuoso Sylvain Luc On The Road in Québec". GuitarPlanet.eu. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- , "Sylvain Luc, le petit géant," a video about Sylvain Luc, was first broadcast on the TV channel Mezzo - in French