Archive for August 11th, 2012

Jacques Mignault – Zen Groove

Jacques Mignault is a self-taught keyboard player, bound to twirl intuitively his long phalanx on all sorts of keyboards. Particularly keen on technology in general, he uses it freely as a mode of expression. He first started out on acoustic guitar, at the age of nine. This was the high point of the Beatles and it definitely influenced his musical taste, which was later redefined by the likes of progressive rock, jazz-rock and pure jazz artists such as Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and George Duke. After switching to the Hammond B3 and the Farfisa organ, which appealed more to his Cartesian side, the Fender Rhodes soon became his primal instrument, and it still is. He later discovered all the diverse aspects of sound synthesis and computer recording and arranging which quickly became his playing field.

Musically, he has always been drawn to modal jazz rather than the tonal expressions of traditional jazz. “I prefer fourths to thirds. My music becomes jazz when it turns to improvisation.” In 1982, he won the first prize of the Roland synthesizer music contest which counted 750 participants from 22 countries. Oscar Peterson was on the judge panel. He played for a while with the musicians from the group “Tchukon” (Slim Williams, Kat Dyson). He also played with Michel Séguin and in the groups “Agharta” and “Anoosh” with Pierre Veniot. He worked briefly with singers like Geraldine Hunt, Zachary Richard, Marc Gabriel and a few others.

As Zen as Jazz can be, Jacques is opening doors to new unexplored sonic experiences. His style? He presents it as smooth jazz, a qualifier that does not totally do justice to his musical imagination. His latest musical direction is shifting towards Urban Jazz, which has a extra dose of funk and R&B, and is strongly oriented towards composition rather than cover playing. He tells us: “I have long abandoned to dream of playing like the greats, like Herbie or Zawinul, because they are simply the best of the best. But I can express as many emotions with my own personal vocabulary and most important, I am having a extreme amount of pleasure doing it.”

This album is made of instruments that the author loves deeply: the keyboards, the bass and the percussions represent the principal ingredients of this recipe he has concocted for the lovers of transcendental experiences.

This album wanted to be made. “This music was in me”, he would say. With the help of his friends, Jacques Mignault has given life to it. Zen Groove is on sale at CDBaby.