Jef Gilson

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Jef Gilson (born 25 July 1926 in Guebwiller as Jean-François Quiévreux; died 5 February 2012[1]) was a French pianist, arranger, composer and big band leader. "In the occupation of which he initiated groups" proved Gilson "an excellent grasp of the 'discovery' and the promotion of young talent."[2]

Life and work[edit]

First, as a clarinetist Gilson began with Claude Luter in the band of Boris Vian. Then he switched to the piano. The experience of the big band of Dizzy Gillespie brought him to the conclusion, arranger and big band leader. In his band played, among others Bill Coleman, Bernard Vitet, Jean-Louis Chautemps, François Jeanneau, Michel Portal, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bernard Lubat, Lloyd Miller and Henri Texier. In addition, he was for a time musical director of the vocal sextet Les Double Six. Gilson recordings, on which early compositions with tempo changes (Enfin!, Œil Vision), bitonal layers and chromatic topics are included, first appeared on a mini label. Some of the harmonic function has been overridden in his compositions since 1964, without, being exclusively free jazz oriented (New Call from France, MPS 1966). Commercial success did not materialize, so that in 1968 Gilson temporarily went to Madagascar. In 1971 he returned and concentrated first on ethno jazz and later "total improvisation". In 1973 he founded his label Palm, on which are especially the recordings with his orchestra Europamerica, and with Butch Morris. For this more arranged record, which started reflecting his achievements of free jazz, he was awarded the 1978 Prix Boris Vian. Up to his final days he lived withdrawn in Ardèche.[3]


Ekkehard Jost, Europas Jazz. 1960-1980. Frankfurt a.M. 1987, ISBN 3-596-22974-X


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