Electro-jazz first exploded on the scene with the fusion experiments of the 1970s,
when electronic instruments and sounds were making their way into jazz circles.
Hancock, one of the few jazz musicians to use synthesizers and
vinyl scratching, is among the forerunners of the genre.
electronic touches with hip-hop rhythms, Hancock's 1983 album, Future Shock,
epitomized the changes that marked the era in music. Conversely, by the late 1980s
hip-hop musicians, too, were flirting with more jazz-oriented sounds.
In London, "acid jazz" was the term used in the 1980s and 1990s to designate
music combining jazz with elements of hip-hop, soul or funk. The English bands that
best exemplified this new style include Incognito, The Brand
New Heavies, James Taylor Quartet and Jamiroquai.
The Electronic Craze
The term "electro-jazz" (aka "nu-jazz"), first coined in the
1990s, denotes a musical style, akin to acid jazz, that blends jazz and funk harmonies
and instrumentation with the intense, hypnotic rhythms of electronica.
In the mid 1990s and
early 2000s, electro groups such as
Jazzanova (a German DJ collective based in Berlin) and
St. Germain (led by Frenchman Ludovic Navarre)
continued to experiment with jazz, using new technologies to lend it an ever more
The album Tourist, a 2000 release by St. Germain,
has sold an impressive 1.5 million albums. Five years earlier, the group's
first album, Boulevard, was voted album of the year by the English press.
During the same period, musicians like American Carl Craig, a leading figure on the
Detroit techno scene, also drew inspiration from electro-jazz, as did English bassist
and drummer Squarepusher.
trumpeter and tireless innovator
Erik Truffaz is one of the most influential figures on
the international electro-jazz scene. His style, often compared to that of Miles
Davis, blends the ethereal and velvety sound of the trumpet with urban,
techno, hip-hop and drum'n'bass beats.
Norwegian trumpet player
Nils Petter Molvær has charted a similar course. Since the
release of his album Khmer in 1997, Molvær has emerged as one of
the driving forces of nu-jazz.
These musicians wholly embraced the electronic shift: As well as electrify their
musical arsenals, they use computer-based looping and "cutting and pasting"
techniques to compose and record. Jazz and electronica thus come together and give
rise to a mixture at once fluid and textured.
Electro-jazz, on the whole, seems to be the point of convergence for two types of
musicians: the jazzman with a keen interest in electronic sounds, and the DJ drawn
to the infinite freedom of jazz.
An Electrifying Festival
Since his first outdoor show in 2000, French trumpeter Erik Truffaz
has returned to the Festival on several occasions. In little time, this fiercely
independent, prolific and groundbreaking artist has become a darling of Festival
fans, who have favourably received each of his albums as well as his multiple collaborations
integrating rap, reggae, rock, drum'n'bass, jazz, and even North African
influences. In 2009,
the musician gave three theme concerts at the Festival, inspired by the triptych
Rendez-vous, made up of the CDs Bénarès, Mexico
The Festival has also welcomed Nils Petter Molvær on five
occasions. Since 1998, the trumpeter and improvisationalist, flanked by an expert
team of sound technicians, has treated audiences to the best in electro-jazz.
sax man Erik Hove
has made three appearances at the Festival. During his most recent visit in 2009,
he brought down the house with his avant-garde groove, featuring equal parts saxophone
Electro-jazz, in Québec, is synonymous with the name Daniel Thouin. A lover of jazz, new
technologies and electronics, the pianist is a mainstay at the Festival - be it
solo or as part of the combo
Jedi Electro, also featuring J-F Lemieux and Jean-Phi Goncalvez.
Thouin has made the concert hall his musical laboratory, and his
experiments always make for compelling music.