JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR
Voices
(AP6)

 

Guitarist Jean-Pierre Llbador has remained a favorite among guitar connoisseurs since his recordings with his 1970's band Coincidence. In the 1980's, Jean-Pierre released a number of great guitar based instrumental albums and CDs that were critically acclaimed world wide. Now in 2013, Jean-Pierre has released his first ever vocal based album entitled Voices. Highlights of this 25 track CD are featured vocals from Jean-Pierre’s daughter, Suzanne Llabador and lyrics from daughter Géraldine Llabador, who each sound totally in sync with their famous dad. Regarding working with his two gifted daughters on CD for the first time Jean-Pierre adds, 'I feel great about the fact we could all three of us work on a common project'. Further commenting on his first ever vocal-based album, Jean-Pierre confesses, 'I felt the urge to kinda open up the window after a lot of instrumental jazz albums, to work with talented young people. They're all in their twenties, I'm the old fox.' Backing up the three Llabadors are a number of top side players and great singers who add further prestige and shine to this jazzy, pop-based album from guitar hero Jean-Pierre Llabador. www.llabador.com


mwe3.com speaks with
JEAN-PIERRE LLBADOR


mwe3
: What was it like working with your two daughters,
Géraldine and Suzanne who join you in the studio for the Voices CD?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: My older daughter Géraldine wrote most of the lyrics that are printed in the CD booklet. It's been a great pleasure for me to work with her, for the first time in fact. She wrote the lyrics after she had heard the music. We've both been so glad that we decided to carry on in the near future.

My younger daughter Suzanne sings in the album her own tune "Suzanne", the shorter tracks (the 5 tracks, one letter each, that comprise the word V.O.I.C.E.), the last song "Real Light" and a few backing vocals here and there... It's also been, of course, a great joy to be with her in the studio.

I feel great about the fact we could all three of us work on a common project...

mwe3: Can you tell us the other musicians and singers who joined you for the Voices CD?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: The main players were Romain Preuss on bass and beat box, Julien Asencio and Clyde Rabatel-Zapata on keyboards. All the others musicians were guests on the album. I can’t name them all here, but of course, they’re all credited on the CD cover. A special mention though to Roger Nikitoff on saxophone and Bernard Margarit on guitar.

The voices are:
Leopoldine Angot on tracks 1, 6, 12, 17, 22
Tania Margarit on tracks : 2, 7,9, 13, 19
Chloé Monin on tracks : 3, 10, 15, 18
Alice Faivre on tracks : 4, 23, 24
I knew all these singers and composed the songs according to what I thought would suit them best...

mwe3: Voices is very different from your all instrumental albums yet you can also hear your guitar sound and musical vibe throughout. What were you aiming for on the Voices CD?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I just really wanted to record "pop songs" actually, which is altogether a very different way of composing and, in my opinion, requires specific skills and abilities such as: be concise, get right to the point, efficiency in the melodies, with references to all the kinds of music I've always liked: pop, rock, folk, jazz, soul, funk...

I felt the urge to kinda open up the window after a lot of instrumental jazz albums, to work with talented young people. They're all in their twenties, I'm the old fox... I've never had voices on any album, and I love the human voice especially feminine. ’Twas about time for me to go for it.

mwe3: What guitars are you featuring on Voices?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I've been using quite a few guitars on this project:

Gibson SG (which I use on stage for this group )
Fender Stat and Jazzmaster
Acoustic Beuzon (custom made)
Acoustic Gibson Dove
Gibson L5

mwe3
: You have such an amazing past in both rock and jazz, so what artists and guitarists had the biggest impact on your playing when you were younger and what artists continue to inspire you in 2013?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: When I was a young teenager I used to listen, quite surprisingly, to both jazz, pop and rock at the same time.

Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, my all time favorite jazz guitarist, then Scotty Moore, Hank Marvin, Steve Cropper were my “guitar heroes”. I listened to them a lot. I also used to dig Ray Charles, James Brown, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, a lot of rhythm and blues singers and players and groups like The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks.

When Jimi Hendrix appeared it was, for me a real shock. His playing, singing, lyrics changed my life!

Along with him I discovered Jeff Beck who, in my opinion, is the best living “rock” player. I also liked Steve Howe and the group Yes and individuals such as Stevie Wonder, so talented and shining, David Bowie, James Taylor for instance...

In my late twenties and after, I began to listen to and discover great jazz artists like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and his incredible writing, Joe Pass, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, my favorite piano player, Louis Armstrong, Tony Williams, Pat Martino, George Benson, my favorite living jazz guitarist, to name just a few...

All these people inspired me a lot and still do! I have to add to these names Joss Stone, who is such a great singer...

mwe3: What about the 5 tracks that form the word V.O.I.C.E on Voices? How do they fit into the mix on the CD? Maybe next time, along with the vocals you could include a few more instrumentals in the “Coincidence” style for the old fans!

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I just wanted to add very short pieces of music in between the tracks like small bits of dreaming making up a broken V.O.I.C.E. among fulfilled VOICES.

Actually, my next project is an all-instrumental solo all-guitar album, I’ve never done it, in which you’ll find all kinds of music including pieces in the “Coincidence” style. It’s like you’ve guessed it... Good feeling!

mwe3: What’s the music scene and guitar scene like in France these days and how has your new music received in France and other European countries?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: The music and guitar scenes in France are quite similar to what they are everywhere in the world these days actually.

Global uniformity is the new deal for the best and / or the worst....

To start with we all talked about music, then it was music business, it’s now business. No bitterness in this sentence, that’s just the way it is.

My album VOICES was well received in France, which allows me to tour quite a bit with the band, in spite of the fact that there’s 9 people on stage! Quite a crew... It’s for me such a joy to perform this bunch of pop songs with great, talented and beautiful people. I do feel so much younger in a way...

mwe3: What was it like growing up in Montpellier with your late, great brother Jean-Claude? Just looking back on your band with Jean-Claude, can you tell those listeners who might not know about Coincidence a little? When did you and Jean-Claude decide to form a group together and can you share some of the memories from the two albums you made with Jean-Claude and Coincidence? Do you feel those albums were kind of ahead of their time and why did you go back to pure jazz music roots, instead of jazz-rock, when you went solo in 1983?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I was born in Algeria, which at the time was a French colony. I arrived in Montpellier / France when I was 10 years old. The change of environment was drastic, and my mother died 2 years after, so I must say that the very first years are not so happy to remember.

Things went better, of course, later on and I got used to my new hometown. I had a lot of friends, I went to school and university with no problems and life went on as they say...

My brother Jean Claude and I began to be interested and become involved in playing music quite early, in the 1960s, and guitar was our choice, easy to bring around, great to sing along with, ideal for gathering with friends. Jean-Claude, who was 4 years older than me, began to play as a semiprofessional before me. I remember of course going to the gigs where he was playing.

In the mid 1970s we decided to write tunes of our own and start a band together with friends. The name “Coincidence” was chosen... The name suited French and English languages.

After a few changes concerning the lineup and after quite a lot of gigs actually, we decided to record our first album, which was very well received. We had a good review in Guitar Player which we thought was great. My brother and I were happy about it, it was like a dream came true! This album allowed us to increase the number of gigs and to go abroad which we couldn’t really believe... Quite shortly after that, we began to work on another album. We recorded it without mixing it and went to Germany for a 10 day tour.

A few days after we got back, Jean-Claude died. I felt so sad and in despair after that as you may imagine...

I mixed the album a few weeks after with the sound engineer and it was released. It also got very good reviews.

A few concerts were organized for the promotion and memory of Jean-Claude. That was the end of a dream.

I don’t know if these albums were ahead of their time. I’m not the one who can talk about that...

After Coincidence things have never been the same. It’s like the real “band” thing was behind me.

At the same time, as I mentioned above, I got into listening to a lot of jazz and became quite inspired by this music, which led me to compose new jazz-rooted pieces. I decided to go solo with my new stuff. That brings us to my album Coincidences, as the name is a last reference to the past...

mwe3: What was it like studying at the guitar institute in Los Angeles in 1981? When did you go to that school, how long did it take you to graduate and what was your experience like in L.A.? Is that where you met Joe Diorio and how did Joe impact your own guitar playing and composing and how about the other musicians and teachers you met back in those days?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I went to the guitar institute about 3 years after the Coincidence days. I had to change my mind first, change my environment altogether, and I wanted to work and concentrate a lot on my guitar playing.

I had a great time there and did learn a lot with great players. I have to mention Pat Martino, Ron Eschete, Howard Roberts, Don Mock, Les Wise, Dan Gilbert, Jay Graydon, Carl Shroeder, and of course Joe Diorio, who is a monster player and a very deep human being. He did inspire me a lot and still does!

I also learned a lot from other students, some of them I’m still in touch with.

It took me a year, exactly two semesters, to graduate. I also had the pleasure to receive 2 special awards. I had a great time in L.A. , it was so different for me being European. The weather and surroundings reminded me a lot of where I was born.

mwe3: I thoroughly enjoyed working with you on the CD Breakthru’ Records release of your music in 1988 and 1989, the French Guitar Connection CD, which is still such a masterpiece. Perhaps we were a little ahead of our time! Any reflections on that CD and of course the two albums from which the music was chosen, your first solo album Coincidences and Brussels as well? Will those two albums come out on their own on CD at some point?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I really enjoyed working with you too. French Guitar Connection was my first CD, thanks to you! My 2 first solo albums, released on vinyl separately before, and never on CD since, were gathered on it along with bonus tracks. This CD was particularly well received in Europe where I got great reviews. Most of the people hadn’t heard of the band Coincidence or had forgot my relation to it, so this release was the beginning of a new career for me. Thanks to it, I got into the jazz circuit and toured a lot with the J.P. Llabador quartet, presenting, quite frequently, different lines-up. I really enjoyed to play with many musicians and be on the road with them.

mwe3: I wanted to publicly apologize for messing up the back tray card on the second CD we worked on together from 2007, Coincidence: Then & Now. I guess I got rusty a little and I didn’t pay attention when the CD plant sent me the wrong information! It’s such a masterpiece and I was happy we got the sound right at least! Will those albums, the three albums, the two Coincidence albums from the 1970s and the 2007 CD release of New Incidences ever be reissued again? Can you say something about the CD cover art on the Then & Now CD? I know, as we were planning the CD, we were speaking about and remembering your brother and my dad, and in fact the CD set was devoted to both of them.

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: After many years of releasing jazz orientated albums, each time with a different format, from duo to 15 pieces orchestra, I felt so surprised in a way and honored we could work together again and, cherry on the cake, on a project concerning the release on CD of the Coincidence music from the 1970s. Rebirth! I felt so glad, particularly for my brother who doesn’t even know what a CD is, and who’s far from even dreaming of any interest more than 30 years after! Music helps people stay alive and eternal. We have had quite a few problems with the sound and the original tapes, but I felt great we could resolve all these technical aspects. It’s been a joy for me to associate your dad to this rebirth album too. I’m sure they both rest in peace and feel so happy about all this!

On this album we added new music from a group I led at the time called “New Incidence”, which I felt suitable to go along with the Coincidence music.

The artwork was designed by a very close friend-artist of mine, Patrick Singh, who knows about most of my life and experiences. I think he did a real nice job being in the knowledge of what was behind...

There’s no project of a reissue so far, but who knows what the future will be like... I‘ve been so surprised in the past that I never say never anymore!

mwe3: What have you got planned for 2013 and beyond? Are you planning to record another Voices album or are you perhaps inclined to return to your jazz-rock and instrumental rock roots?

JEAN-PIERRE LLABADOR: I already mentioned that my next new project will be an all-guitar instrumental solo album. That’s something I’ve never done before and I feel it’s about time to go for it... I’ll use re-recording quite a lot. I’ll also be using a lot of different guitars, acoustic and electric, 6 and 12 strings.

I feel it’s a big challenge to be alone with yourself in a studio... I also hope the music will touch everybody and not only the guitar fans, which is another even bigger challenge...

The music will be really open to all my likes and influences, with no barriers what so ever, so you’ll find rock, jazz, jazz-rock, pop, folk and who knows... music you can’t even name, which I’d like a lot!

At this time there’s no new Voices II album planned in the near future, but I ‘m sure the time will come when
Géraldine and I feel ready for it. Thanks for your interest! God bless everybody.

Thanks to Jean-Pierre Llabador @ www.llabador.com
{photos top to bottom: Jean-Pierre with shades, Jean-Pierre with Suzanne Llabador, Géraldine Llabador b&w,
Suzanne Llabador b&w, Voices promo picture, French Guitar Connection CD cover, Coincidence: Then & Now CD cover, Voices promo picture 2, Give Me Five CD cover, Jean-Pierre with cow}

 

 
   
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