Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Jean-Michel Jarre(Oxygène, Equinoxe, Rendez-Vous 4...)
Jean-Michel André Jarre (born 24 August 1948) is a French composer, performer and music producer. He is highly regarded as one of the pioneers in the electronic, synthpop and New Age genres, as well as the organiser of record-breaking outdoor spectacles of his music, which feature laser displays and fireworks, linking music with the surrounding environment and architecture. Jarre has sold an estimated 80 million albums and singles over his career.
Jarre was born in Lyon on August 24, 1948, the son of Maurice Jarre, a famous composer of film music, and France Pejot, a member of the French resistance during World War II. His grandfather, André Jarre, was one of the inventors of the first audio mixing consoles used by Radio Lyon, and he was also involved, after World War II, with one of the first portable phonographs (the Tepazz) , which he gave to his grandson as a present.
When Jean Michel was five, his father departed for Hollywood, and Jarre would not have much contact with him from then on . It was at this time that Jarre began studying classical piano. His interest in music was not yet passionate, and he had to change piano teachers several times. It was only when he discovered a strange trumpet or violin instrument in a local flea market that his interest really took off. On his tenth birthday, his mother took him to a Paris jazz club called "Le chat qui pêche" (The Fishing Cat), where he was introduced to the saxophonists Archie Shepp and John Coltrane, and the trumpet players Don Cherry and Chet Baker. Jarre stated in the 1997 documentary, Making The Steamroller Fly that this event really triggered his passion for music. Jarre then started to take courses in harmony and counterpoint at the Conservatoire of Paris, under the guidance of Jeanine Rueff. He was studying for a degree in law and economic science at the same time. Eventually he quit the classical studies, and turned to modern music theory instead.
Jarre was married to Flore Guillard from 20 January 1975 until 1977. Later he was married to British actress and photographer Charlotte Rampling from 7 October 1978 until 1998. In 2002 he became publicly engaged to French actress Isabelle Adjani, but later she ended this relationship. On 12 May 2005 he married French actress Anne Parillaud.
In 1964, he formed a band called Mystère IV ("Mystery 4"). He spent so much time in the group that his mother confiscated his instruments. In 1967 Jarre played guitar in the band "The Dustbins". They played the hits of The Shadows and The Spotnicks. The group appeared on stage in a party scene in the movie "Des garçons et des filles", the soundtrack for which featured two of the band's songs. A single was released, but only ten copies were made.
In 1968, he started experimenting with tape loops, radios and other electronic devices, and in January 1969, he joined the Groupe de Recherche Musicale (GRM), under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer, the "father" of musique concrète. Here he was introduced to the first synthesizers in Europe: the EMS VCS 3 and the Moog modular synthesizer. In GRM, Jarre was taught to think about music in terms of sounds instead of notes, and this had a huge influence upon him. He also studied foreign musics (African, Indian, Chinese and other oriental music) from which he learned a lot. For a period of two-three months, Jarre studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne.
In his GRM period, Jarre had his own flat in Paris at rue de la Trémoille, not far from the Champs-Elysees, and it was here that he was able set up his first studio in a converted kitchen: an EMS VCS 3 and EMS Synthi AKS synthesizer, and two linked Revox tape machines. To fund the studio's equipment and himself he painted pictures which he sold locally. For an exposition at the "Maison De Culture" (Cultural House) in Reims he wrote a five minute song called "Happiness is a sad song" (unreleased).
Jarre released his first solo single "La Cage/Erosmachine" in (1971), but it was a failure. This was likely due to its experimental or futuristic sound. Only 117 singles were sold, and Pathé Marconi destroyed the remaining stock. Jarre became the youngest composer to see one of his works played at the Paris Opera, at its reopening in 1971. It was the first time that electronic music had been allowed to be used, and Jarre even had to paint his speakers gold to match the decor of the opera house. There he performed with the Paris Opera Ballet and choreographer Norbert Schmucki. He created the first electro-acoustic opera called "AOR". This music is still unreleased as of 2008, with the exception of AOR Bleu, which was released on Live Printemps de Bourges 2002. Jarre composed the music for two additional operas: Le Labyrinthe (1972) and Dorian Gray (1973). He also wrote music for commercials and started to collaborate with artists like Dominique Webb, Samuel Hobo, Bill and Buster, Blue Vamp, and the group Triangle. Jarre also wrote lyrics for artists like Patrick Juvet and Christophe.
In 1972, Jarre added a modified Farfisa organ and an ARP 2600 to his collection. He released several singles under aliases: 1906 - Cartolina/Helza, Jamie Jefferson - Black Bird/ Pop Corn. One of his first successes, the song Zig Zag Dance, was released in numerous guises, under various aliases, and differing slightly each time. His first solo album Deserted Palace (Sam Fox Productions/Dreyfus Records) was released at this time.
Jarre composed the soundtrack for the film Les Granges Brûlées (Dreyfus Records, not released on CD until 2003) in the following year. In 1974 he met Michel Geiss, an electronics wizard and musician. A friendship was struck between them that has lasted ever since.
In 1975, Jarre wrote some music and lyrics for Françoise Hardy and Gérard Lenorman. Two of these songs were later to be re-used: La belle et la bête (which later became the basis for "Rendez-vous 2"), and La mort du cygne (which eventually evolved into "Rendez-vous 3"). He also acted as director for Christophe's Olympiashow that year, which featured a flying piano.
See "The Dreyfus years", "Metamorphoses", "The AERO years", "Back To Roots"
Jarre has three children:
Emilie, with Flore Guillard.
Barnaby Southcombe, Charlotte Rampling's son from a previous marriage.
David, Charlotte and Jarre's son.
Oxygène - #1 France #2 UK #78 U.S.
Equinoxe - #11 UK #126 U.S.
Les Chants Magnetiques - #6 UK #98 U.S.
The Concerts in China - #6 UK #1 Portugal
Rendez-Vous - #9 UK #52 U.S.
"Rendez-Vous 4" (single) - #1 Portugal
Revolutions - #3 UK
-Awards and recognition
-Jean Michel Jarre discography
-List of Jean Michel Jarre concerts