Sacha Distel, Jazz Guitarist

December 6, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Before Distel-the-crooner, the affairs with Brigitte Bardot and Dionne Warwick, etc., there was Distel-the-jazz-guitarist. Strongly influenced by his uncle Ray Ventura, one of the first jazzmen in France, Distel (1933 – 2004) began playing traditional jazz, becoming a professional musician 16. He quickly moved in more modern directions, working with Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Bobby Jaspar, and Tony Bennett, but he continued to work with the older generation, for example, Lionel Hampton. This clip with Louis Armstrong seems to be the only one on YouTube where Distel’s jazz guitar is showcased. Distel was clearly highly adaptable, because there are little traces of bebop in his playing which is probably best as “robust” and Tiny Grimes-like.

The great “Jazz in Paris” series has a twofer with Distel’s early recordings. Here is another collection of his jazz cuts.

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