Backstage at the Norton Center with… Grégoire Maret

1. VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW THAT I… speak three languages.  gregoiremaret3

2. WHEN I’M NOT ON TOUR I… spend time with my wife, practice, research and try to write a lot of music being influenced primarily by visual art and sounds.

3. WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY ART IS… the raw emotions and the total honesty coming from improvisation.

4. A LIFE LESSON I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH CENTRE COLLEGE STUDENTS IS: just stay honest with your art and what you really are about artistically.

5. I DEFINE ART AS: works produced by human creative skill and imagination (definition in the Oxford Dictionary and it works for me)

6. MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN SHOW BUSINESS THUS FAR WAS: when I first played with Herbie Hancock.

7. THE PERSON WHO MOST INFLUENCED ME IS: probably both my uncle and my father and after that I would name Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bach, Mahler, Stravinsky and then Miro and Matisse.

8. IF I COULD BE ON STAGE WITH ANYONE, PAST OR PRESENT, ALIVE OR DECEASED, FICTIONAL OR REAL, IT WOULD BE: Duke Ellington.

9. WHILE TOURING, ONE OF MY GUILTY PLEASURES IS: I don’t really have one…

10. IF I COULD ENSURE THAT THE AUDIENCE TAKES HOME ONE THING AFTER MY PERFORMANCE, IT WOULD BE: an intense trip somewhere beautiful, full of emotions…just traveling somewhere new and different.

***
More about the artist:
Grégoire Maret was born in 1975 in Geneva, Switzerland and began playing the harmonica at age 17. His childhood was filled with a diverse array of musical influences from his Harlem born, African- American mother and his Swiss father, a local jazz musician. Upon graduating from the prestigious Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Genève, Grégoire made the critical decision to move to New York City to pursue Jazz studies at the New School University.

Over time Maret honed his craft, becoming one of the most sought after harmonica players in the world. He has developed his own unique sound and his versatile style enables him to play effortlessly across different musical genres. He is often compared to legends Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder and has worked with an incredible list of musicians including Pat Metheny, Youssn’Dour, Me’ Shell Ndegeocello, David Sanborn, George Benson, Cassandra Wilson, Herbie Hancock and Sting.

gregoiremaret5In 2005, Grégoire toured with the Pat Metheny Group, receiving a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. He also won the Jazz Journalists Association ‘Player of the Year Award’. After his Grammy win, Maret embarked on a two-year tour with the world-class bassist Marcus Miller and subsequently joined Herbie Hancock’s band.

After spending years on the road, Maret was asked by Suzuki Harmonica to assist in creating his own Grégoire Maret G-48 and G-48W Signature Chromatic Harmonica series. He provided critical advice on the materials used as well as other intricate aspects, consequently contributing to the production of high quality instruments of which all participants are proud of today. Maret continues to record and tour with notable musicians and co-leads the trio Gaïa, with pianist Federico Gonzales Peña and drummer Gene Lake. Grégoire recently completed his first solo recording project.


The Grégoire Maret Quartet will perform in Club Weisiger at the Norton Center on Thursday, March 14.  All tickets are $30, seating is limited.  For more information visit NortonCenter.com.

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