He's one of the most creative musicians around (Quote: Herbie Hancock)
If you speak about the harmonica in a group of jazz fans, 95 out of 100 will mention Toots Thielemans ....., and the other 5 percent, perhaps, will mention names like Stevie Wonder or might remember forgotten musicians like Larry Adler, Buddy Lucas or Malachi Favors, who played in the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The harmonica, better said, the chromatic harmonica, seems to be, at first sight, the most easy instument in jazz, an instrument you shouldn't take seriously, but nothing is further from the thruth. It is one of the most difficult instruments to handle, although it seems a piece of cake in the hands of good old Toots ......
Grégoire Maret ( photo courtesy: Ingrid Hertfelder)
Grégoire Maret, a Swiss-born jazz muscians, now living in the States, recently released his debut album. Born in 1975 in Geneva, Switzerland, he raised in a musical family. He started to play the harmonica during his teens. He graduated from the Conservatoire Supérieur de Geneve and moved to New York to study Jazz at the New School University. He played with great names like Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller and joined in 2005 the Pat Metheny group to tour.
Grégoire Maret (photo courtesy: Ingrid Hertfelder)
His debut appearance on a record seems to have been in 1998 with the Little Jimmy Scott group and a year later he was playing with pianist Jackie Terrasson. Two years ago Grégoire played the harmonica at The Concert for the Rainforest with Elton John and Sting.
Enjoy a film fragment in which Grégoire introduces you to his debut album:
The album features some guest appearances by Marcus Miller, Raul Midon and Cassandra Wilson, which he accompanied ten years ago at her album Glamoured. Toots Thielemans, the legendary Belgian harmonicist, now in his 90s, joined Grégoire in the track O Amor E O Meu Pais. The album contains more then a dozen tracks, including two suites: Crepuscule Suite and Children's Suite.
Cover of Grégoire Maret's debut album ( EOM-CD-2413) ( photo courtesy: Ingrid Hertfelder)
I really like the second track Secret Life of Plants, which reminded me to Stevie Wonders album of the same name, I still must have somewhere around and Cassandra Wilson's version of The Man I Love.
I found a fragment of a concert in which Grégoire and his band plays an instrumental version of The Man I Love - which gives you a great impression of the music as played oin this fine album.
It's an album to suit all tastes and I'm sure Grégoire's debut album will surprise a lot of jazz fans.
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The most well known chromatic harmonica player must be Toots Thielemans, the legendary Belgian player, now in his 90s, who changed the guitar long ago for his Muziekske, as he calls his tiny instrument. Grégoire Maret is a young Swiss born harmonicist who hopes to follow in his footsteps. Although recording with numerous great names in jazz, like Cassandra Wilson, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller and Herbie Hancock, he never recorded under his own name. A few month ago he released his long-waited self-titled debut album. A must for all those fans who like the music of the harmonica.