Top 5

Jef-Gilson-&-Malagasy_Colchique-dans-les-prés Jef-Gilson_Suite-pour-San-Remo_(Ouverture) Jef-Gilson_Modalité-Pour-Mimi Bruno-Pasqual_Mon-ami-LIrlandais Bill-Coleman-&-Jef-Gilson_Let-My-People-Go

Kalcha_credit_Christophe Gagneux

(c) Christophe Gagneux

Jerome «Kalcha» Simonneau has two addictions: discover music he doesn’t know yet and share his new discoveries. After working in the specialist music media (Vibrations, So Jazz…), this active DJ has now become an investigator for Jazzman Records, the prestigious English reissue label, and a lecturer during his spare time. For us, he selects five tracks from the Jef Gilson’s productions…


Modalité Pour Mimi
from “Jef Gilson À Gaveau” (SFP, 1965)



«Unfortunately, I don’t own an original copy of “Jef Gilson À Gaveau” (can’t really afford one, but I do accept presents!) so I have this song on the first Jef Gilson compilation (+ on its additional 7”) that Jazzman Records released in 2011, a few months before Jef’s passing. It’s one of my favourite songs by Gilson. The line-up is simply incredible: the cream of the crop of French jazz (Bernard Lubat on vibes, Michel Portal & Jacques Di Donato on reeds, Jacques Thollot on drums, Ivan Jullien on trumpet, etc.) + Jamaican trumpet player Sonny Grey and Eric Dolphy’s two young protégés Woody Shaw (trumpet) and Nathan Davis (sax). The melody is beautiful and the rhythmic cavalcade is awesome! Jef composed this song in 1965 for Mimi Perrin, the lead singer of the famous vocalese band Les Double Six (in 1965, long before Daft Punk, Les Double Six got nominated for the Best Vocal Group Performance Grammy Award, but that year the winners could only be… The Beatles!). In 1964/65 Mimi Perrin had asked her dear friend Jef Gilson to join the new line-up of Les Double Six as a singer and a conductor. This was a great opportunity for Jef who thought he could slip a few compositions of his own into the band’s repertoire. He wanted to first present this “Modalité Pour Mimi” on stage at the 6th Festival of Antibes in July 65, just before John Coltrane’s concert, but he eventually also played it a few weeks earlier for this “À Gaveau” record. Unfortunately Mimi Perrin would never record the song with Les Double Six as she soon had to quit the band in 1966 due to health matters. Hard luck!»

Suite Pour San Remo: Ouverture
from “New Call From France” (SABA, 1966)



«In 1966, Gilson and his Nonet were invited to the San Remo Jazz Festival (Italy) to play before Oscar Peterson’s show. The performance was so good that the German label SABA later invited them to their studio to record the concert setlist. This “Ouverture” is Gilson music at its most refined, thanks to Claude Lenissois’ sophisticated arrangements. Once again, the orchestra was full of talented musicians (Jean-Louis Chautemps, Bernard Lubat, Gilbert “Bibi” Rovère, Francois Jeanneau, Gaëtan Dupenher, Pierre Caron…). And I love the artwork!»

Let My People Go
from “Bill Coleman ‎–Swing Low Sweet Chariot- Plays And Sings 12 Spirituals With The Jef Gilson Big Band” (Palm, 1974)



«In 1974, Jef Gilson reissued this album on his own Palm label but the record was first released in 1968 for Guilde Internationale Du Disque. This collection of Gospels and Negro spirituals is one of the easiest (and cheapest) Jef Gilson records to dig. And it’s pretty good! Old trumpet legend Bill Coleman had to pair up with funky youngsters like Eddy Louiss (organ), Gilbert Rovère (bass), Jean-Charles Capon (cello) and Lionel Magal (drums)! The result is awesome as you can check it out with “Let My People Go” (also known as “Go Down Moses” on the first release). Eddy Louiss is psych as f**k on this one! Two months later (May 1968), Gilson, Rovère and Magal would fly to Madagascar for a few concerts and workshops..

Colchiques Dans Les Prés
from “Gilson et Malagasy” (Jazzman Records, 2014)



«During this first trip to Madagascar, Gilson was pretty impressed by the quality of the musicians in the island. He promised them he would come back with recording equipment. In March 1969, Jean-Charles Capon and Jef were back in Antananarivo. They played a few gigs and made several recording sessions with young local cats that would end up in the famous “Malagasy” LP, released only in 1973 on Palm. This Coltranesque live version of “Colchiques Dans Les Prés” is a previously unreleased song that Gerald Short (Jazzman Records boss) and I discovered in Jef’s archives room, after he died. His widow kindly let us search in his lifelong accumulation of tapes, acetates and records, which resulted in “Jef Gilson – Archives” and the “Malagasy” boxset unreleased material. It’s been a huge task requiring the assistance of many people (Big Up Fred Martin!) and about two years untangling tapes in the studio, interviewing musicians, linking the dots between the missing parts of the story, but we think the results are definitely worth it.»

Bruno Pasqual
From “Mon Ami L’Irlandais” (Trident, 1964)



«I found this 45 only a few months ago. I had never seen or heard of it before. And all the Gilson connoisseurs I talked to seemed to be as surprised as I was. Bruno Pasqual was (well, I think he still is) a good friend of Gilson’s young arranger Henri-Claude Fantapié’s aka Claude Lenissois. Pasqual released two 45s on a small label in the South of France. On the first one (1963), Gilson composed one original song (which is ok but not so good). And on the second one (1964), two killer OGs (Original Gems)! I don’t know if Jef plays the piano on this recording as the conductor is Lenissois. But the orchestra is probably roughly the same as on his “Enfin!” and “Œil Vision” albums! That’s why this song swings so much!»

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