Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Yvonnick Prene recently made his debut as a bandleader on Steeplechase Records with the ambitious release of "Jour de Fête", an album which features 7 original compositions and 4 Jazz standards. A native of the great jazz city of Paris, Yvonnick started to play the diatonic blues harp at age 8 “it was a gift for my birthday from my father… I didn’t expect it ”. While in High School studying Art History he heard for the first time the great Charlie Parker. “ At 17 I decided to switch to the chromatic harmonica which is more suited to jazz.” Ten years later, influenced by such greats as Toots Thielemans, Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker among many others, Yvonnick stepped out on his own to create his own voice on the harmonica. What set him apart from the other harmonica players is his vast knowledge of the jazz language and his uncanny ability to play over a variety of grooves. “My vision for this debut album is to take the harmonica into uncharted territories, expose it to challenging situations, and in the process create something pleasing for the ears” In addition to his quickly identifiable sound on the harmonica, Prené has a rare gift as a composer. The music on "Jour de Fête" resounds with melodic clarity, harmonic mystery, rhythmic intrigue and improvisational surprise to create a kind of joyfulness. He displays a strong command of the jazz tradition and a great love of the jazz songbook, but also a determination to articulate his own language and create on his own terms. As for the inspiration behind the tunes, Prené says “Each song is an echo of my experiences living in New York City for the past four years and reflects the varied influences of music that inspire me.” Yvonnick Prene is an exceptional musician who is opening up a wealth of possibilities for his underrated but beautiful instrument. “Jour de Fête” is the perfect introduction for this young master of the harmonica.

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