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st. germain: what’s all that NEW jazz? asier leoz   A dance musician who loves jazz or a jazz man who wants to bring his music to discotheques Whatever the case may be, there can be doubt that Ludovic Navarre (St Germain) has been the latest one to hit it smack bang in the bull’s-eye. The young Ludovic, having had to give up sport due to an accident, used to spend hour upon hour in his room. That’s when he started trying to create music with his amplifiers and anything that could make sound. He began experimenting on black sound; he’d mix old jazz masters with house rhythms or he’d see just how much he could slow down Bob Marley records. He soon had a few EP-s on the streets. He used different names for the different releases: Deep Side, Mudus Vivendi, Nuages and finally, St Germain.
Digitally mixing the danceable warmth of jazz is nothing new; US3 did in the first years of Acid Jazz. Not that many remember them nowadays. St Germain, on the other hand, is everywhere. For anybody who wants to give the impression that they are up to the minute as far as musical fads are concerned, having St Germain’s ”Tourist”, as was the case with Moby’s ”Play” not so long ago, is a must. Whether they actually listen to it or not is of secondary importance. The rhythms and melodies on this record are already being used in many television advertising campaigns. This, of course, can be very helpful, but it should not be used to criticise St Germain’s music.

blue note and dance
The fact that a famous Jazz Label like Blue Note decided to publish the record really forced this French musician to take care of the quality of the recording; on his previous record, ”Boulevard” (F Communications, 1995), St Germain showed only half of what he was capable of. St Germain gained credibility by sampling the Blues giant John Lee Hooker's groaning voice and stuttering guitar (”Sure Thing”) and by masterfully adding some Miles Davis-y jazzy touches to his music.
The result: incredible sales and curiosity as to his live performance.
The type of technical acrobatics and colorings found on a record like ”Tourist” can raise some doubts as to whether it can be reproduced live: how well does the music lend itself to a live setting? The people who went to the live performance in a packed La Riviera Club in Madrid last March didn't feel any more enlightened when the concert was cancelled at the last moment because of technical problems with Ludovic Navarre's computer. Nevertheless, those who went to the next show two days later saw a real live act.
Drums, guitars and a saxophone blew up a storm as people bopped about the hall. The star attraction was hardly visible behind his towers of amps and thingamajigs . The coming together of programmed sounds and real-live instruments worked a treat that night. An interesting fact: the very same week, renowned saxophone player Maceo Parker played the same venue but only a quarter of the amount of people turned up to see it. The act that used sampled pieces of music got a much warmer reception than the musician who actually played the music sampled. Is this a sign of what's to come?
Ludovic and the Saxophone: St Germain will be performing live at La Casilla, Bilbo on the first of December.