Having so far self-released three studio efforts, French ensemble Ghost Rhythms present their first live album, and debut Cuneiform release, Live at Yoshiwara, recorded in front of a small audience just before Christmas 2018 at Les Frigos in Paris – in the very room that serves as the setting for their weekly rehearsals.
Ghost Rhythms is led by composers, drummer Xavier Gélard and pianist Camille Petit. Together, they have composed the entirety of the band’s material except for this one-off project originally designed to coincide with the band's tenth anniversary. For Live at Yoshiwara, they invited the other members to contribute pieces of their own for the first – and possibly only - time.
These two have known each other since the mid 90s and worked in a variety of rock and progressive rock-type ensembles. With neither of them having any background in jazz, but both having interest in forming a jazz ensemble, they recruited jazz and classical players, making it clear that they would provide all the composed music, their view being that an interesting balance between immediacy and a more cerebral approach would be achieved between their own background as self-taught, prog-rock-influenced composers/musicians and by the academically-trained classical/jazz musicians who made up the rest of the ensemble.
By 2008, Ghost Rhythms were up and running and regularly gigging in various small Paris venues, but had yet to come to the attention of established media and institutions. This began to change when the band won prizes in several talent contests: at the Boule Bleue festival in the Somme in September 2008 (they were invited back for a headlining slot at the 2009 edition), the Jazz à La Défense festival in Paris in June 2012, where GR came 3rd and 2nd in the Best Ensemble and Best Composer categories, and the Jazz en Baie festival near the Mont-Saint-Michel in September 2013. The La Défense prizes in particular proved instrumental in getting booked in Paris’ leading jazz clubs, such as the Sunset, where they won yet another talent contest.