Video: Jean-Michel Jarre at NAMM 2017

One of the highlights of the NAMM show for Reverb this year was getting to sit down with French composer and electronic pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre. He spoke with us about his affinity for instrumental music, his enduring and successful career, and his favorite gear.

Jarre was first captivated by instrumental music at a young age when he accompanied his mother to Le Chat Qui Pêche, a Parisian jazz club featuring artists like Archie Shepp, Chet Baker, Don Cherry, and John Coltrane. Pairing this admiration of jazz with influences from painters like Pierre Soulages, street performers, and musique concretè pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, Jarre began producing records, composing songs and experimenting with sound textures.

In the 1970s, Jarre began working with synthesizers after being introduced to a Moog while working at Karlheinz Stockhausen’s studio. He set up a small studio in his kitchen, outfitting it with an EMS VCS 3 and an EMS Synthi AKS that were both linked to Revox tape machines. It was in this kitchen that he recorded his first album to garner mainstream success, Oxygène, which he released in 1976.

Jean-Michel Jarre’s success continued to grow, and today he is known as much for his music as he is for his large-scale, outdoor performances. His Bastille Day performance to a crowd of one million at the Place de la Concorde in 1979 was the first entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest outdoor concert crowd.

This year at NAMM, Roland and Boss presented Jean-Michel Jarre with a Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the second year that the companies have presented this award to musicians who have had noteworthy impact on the music industry.

Pre-orders for Jarre’s latest album, Oxygène 3, are currently open with physical copies shipping out on March 24th of this year. His first ever North American tour in support of the album will kick off on May 9th in Toronto, Canada.

Jean-Michel Jarre’s Electronica World Tour

5/9 Toronto, ON Canada Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
5/11 Montreal, QC Canada Bell Centre
5/16 Boston, MA Blue HIlls Bank Pavilion
5/18 Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre
5/20 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
5/22 Chicago, IL Auditorium Theatre
5/24 Broomfield, CO 1st Bank Center
5/26 Berkeley, CA The Greek Theatre
5/27 Los Angeles, CA Microsoft Theater

You can pre-order his album here.

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