Nguyen Le

Born in Paris from vietnamese parents, he began to play drums at the age of 15, then took up guitar & electric bass. After graduating in Visual Arts, he majored in Philosophy, writing a thesis on Exoticism. Then he devoted to music, creating “ULTRAMARINE” (1983), a multi-ethnic band whose CD “ De “ has been considered “1989' s best World Music album” Philippe Conrath, Liberation.

Nguyen LE is a self-taught musician, with a wide scope of interests : Rock & Funk (Jim Cuomo, Madagascar tour 84), Jazz standards & contemporary Jazz (bass player with Marc Ducret, guitar player with Eric Barret), Improvised Music (Yves Robert), Singers (Ray Charles), Contemporary Music (Andre Almuro, Tona Scherchen, Marius Constant, Mauricio Kagel), Ethnic Music : African & Caribbean with ULTRAMARINE , Algerian with Safy Boutella & Cheb Mami, Indian with Kakoli, Turkish with Kudsi Erguner, Vietnamese with his “Dan Bau” (traditional one-stringed instrument) teacher Truong Tang.

In sept. 87 he was chosen by director Antoine Herve to play with the O. N. J. (French National Jazz Orchestra). Within this big band, he played with such musicians as Johnny Griffin, Louis Sclavis, Didier Lockwood, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Courtney Pine, Steve Lacy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones. Nguyen LE' s work also deals with programming synthetizers, effects & computers as well as writing orchestral pieces : “PROCESSOR” composed, arranged & recorded on CD “O.N.J. 87” & “LUNIK II” co- arranged with Dominique Borker & performed by the O.N.J. 1989.

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Few musicians embody the word “fusion” more than Parisian-born guitarist Nguyên Lê. For the past 25 years he's been mining a combination of fusion by the more conventional definition—the infusion of rock energy into the jazz sphere—with fusion in a broader sense, the seamless integration of music from cultures around the world. (All About Jazz)

Nguyên Lê is a masterful, inventive player who has cultivated a wholly unique voice on the intsrument, he ranks right up there with Frisell, John Scofield, Mike Stern & Allan Holdsworth in the post Hendrix world of jazz guitar (Jazztimes)

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