French jazz guitarist Christian Escoudé has died at the age of 76 –

French jazz guitarist Christian Escoudé has died at the age of 76 –
French jazz guitarist Christian Escoudé has died at the age of 76 –

The great jazz guitarist Christian Escoudé died of cancer at the age of 76 on Monday near Angoulême, his hometown. He was recognized in the world of gypsy jazz and contemporary jazz and had notably collaborated with the Swiss drummer and composer Daniel Humair.

“He died this Monday morning in Charente,” one of the press officers in charge of his last concerts told AFP. “He died this morning of cancer at the age of 76, his son told us,” Max Robin, artistic director of the specialized label Label Ouest which produced his last album entitled “Ancrage”, told AFP.

He described a “great musician and composer” who became, over time, “a friend”, someone “inspiring both by what he composed and his full commitment to his music”, an “improviser and stage man.

An intuitive musician who collaborates with the Swiss Daniel Humair

This combination of talents has allowed him to make a name for himself both in the world of gypsy jazz and in that of contemporary jazz with musicians such as the French jazz pianist, composer and conductor Martial Solal or Daniel Humair, drummer, composer and Swiss painter.

“An intuitive musician with this poetry at his fingertips,” responded to AFP François Lacharme, former president of the Jazz Academy and one of the programmers of the Club Jazzafip radio show.

A gypsy father and guitarist who is a fan of Django Reinhardt

“A child of the ball, as they say, who was given a guitar in his hands and who made it his profession at a very young age, playing in dances, locally, before going to Paris,” he said. added, emphasizing his ability to “innovate with French string swing” and his “interest also in chamber music”.

Born in September 1947 in Angoulême to a gypsy father, a guitarist who was a fan of Django Reinhardt, and a mother from Charente, Christian Escoudé is one of the rare jazz guitarists to have obtained the Django Reinhardt prize, from the Jazz Academy, in 1976.

A career that took off in the 1980s alongside John McLaughlin

It was an international duo tour with John McLaughlin, a world British guitar star, which made his career take off in the early 1980s, taking him “from a musician highly esteemed by his peers but mainly performing in clubs, to much larger venues and to a much wider audience”, according to Max Robin.

He then distinguished himself, in 1983, in the trio he formed with the French violinist Didier Lockwood and the Belgian jazz guitarist Philip Catherine. Then, from 1985, in the Trio Gitan with Babik Reinhardt, son of Django, and the French gypsy jazz guitarist Boulou Ferré (the formation has seen other musicians pass over time).

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He joined the jazz department of the major record company Universal, multiplying tours, albums and concerts. Crowned with a Jazz Victory of Honor in 2022 for his entire career, Christian Escoudé brought together a brand new quintet, mixing styles and generations.

Influenced by his writing masters (Gil Evans, Claus Ogerman, Antonio Carlos Jobim…), a fine melodist who had given new colors to Brassens, he celebrated with “Ancrage” a double return to his sources, that of his native land and of his loyalty to the music that nourished him, such as bebop, west coast jazz and French song.




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