composer and arranger André Condouant, respected by the Americans,
well-known also in Europe, was born in Guadeloupe (French West Indies)
September 6, 1935. He started performing in 1949 in Guadeloupe as
a double-bass player and drummer with local orchestras like the BRUNEL
AVERNE ORCHESTRA (EL CALDERON), EL CALZADO and the ROBERT MAVOUNZY
ORCHESTRA, with the latter he toured through Indonesia. After moving
to Paris in 1957, he had his first engagement as a bass player at
'La Cigale' with the ALBERT LIRVAT ORCHESTRA, where he met American
musicians like BART TAYLOR and ERROLL GARNER and entered into the
world of Jazz. During their engagement at the 'Crazy Horse Saloon',
he changed from bass to guitar.
In 1959 André toured Africa, again with AL LIRVAT and with BENNY BENNETT´s Latin
dance-orchestra he toured through Tunisia. Back in Paris in 1960, he
met ROBERT MAVOUNZY and AL LIRVAT again, playing at the 'Olympia' in
JOSEPHINE BAKER´s revue 'Paris Mes Amour'. Towards 1962 André
went to Stockholm with GÉRARD LAVIGNY, where he met IDREES SULIEMAN
and LEO WRIGHT (former flutist and saxophonist of Dizzy Gillespie).
Leo offered him to join his band for a tour to Czechoslovakia (playing
at the first Jazz-Festival Prague) and Germany in 1964. From his homebase
in Berlin, André toured through Europe with the LEO WRIGHT QUARTET
and the LOU BENNETT TRIO during the following years. In 1970 he performed
at the Barcelona Jazz Festival with SLIDE HAMPTON and ART TAYLOR and
also played concerts with MEMPHIS SLIM, JOHN LEE HOOKER and ROOSEVELT
Shortly after recording his first solo album 'Brother Meeting' in
Paris in 1970, he toured Canada with MARIUS CULTIER, meeting FREDDIE
HUBBARD. After longer stays in Montreal, Guadeloupe and Martinique
he went back to Paris again in 1978, playing concerts with RHODA SCOTT.
Between 1979 and 1984 André worked with his own band, the ANDRÉ
CONDOUANT QUARTET, featuring: ALAIN JEAN-MARIE, GEORGE BROWN and ALBY
CULLAZ, playing concerts in clubs in Paris and through France. During
the next years André played concerts and performed at several
Jazz Festivals in the West Indies (with AL LIRVAT, FREDDIE HUBBARD
and STANLEY TURRENTINE). Between 1992 and 1994 he played concerts
at the 'Petit Opportun' in Paris and at 'La Cave on First' in New
André performed and/or recorded with various musicians, from Gospel to Free
Jazz, through Blues and Bebop, such as: CARMELL JONES, PERCY HEATH,
EDDY LOUISS, KENNY CLARKE, JIMMY WOODE, BUD POWELL, MAX ROACH, MARTIAL
SOLAL, GEORGE BENSON, KENNY DREW, FRANCY BOLAND, BENNY BAILEY, THELONIOUS
MONK, DEXTER GORDON, CONNIE KAY, LÉO FERRÉ, BUD POWELL,
BEN WEBSTER, ALBERT AYLER, ART FARMER, DON BYAS, ERNIE SHEPPARD, BOOKER
ERVIN, JOHNNY GRIFFIN, CHARLIE ROUSE, HERBIE HANCOCK, JAKI BYARD, PHIL
UPCHURCH, JOE HARRIS, ÅKE PERSSON, NATHAN DAVIS, RAY BARRETTO,
JACKY TERRASSON, MICHEL DE VILLERS and MAURICE MEUNIER, to name a few.
He participated in many recordings as a sideman, notably as guitarist with singer ANNIE
ROSS and saxophonist PONY POINDEXTER, but his own first album finally
brought him the respect and recognition of the Jazz celebrities in France.
His own recordings reflect a wide range of different styles: Jazz on
his debut album 'Brother Meeting' and on 'André Condouant Quartet',
funky tunes on 'Happy Funk'. Back to Guadeloupe and his roots, he has been taking inspiration
on Caribbean sounds, like Biguine, Zouk, Bolero or Calypso for the albums
'Thanks For All' and 'Banana Zook'. With his album 'Clean And Class',
recorded in 1997 with pianist ALAIN JEAN-MARIE, he returned to classical
Jazz. His album 'Gospel Swing', with JOCELYN MÉNARD
(sax) on two tracks, was recorded for a local church in 2002. For the
label Disque Celiny André achieved arrangements for IBO SIMON,
and he directed the orchestra on SIMONE PAULIN´s first album.
His compostions have been recorded by other (not only Jazz-) musicians,
for example by AL LIRVAT and Caribbean singers KLOD FOSTIN and TANYA
At the International Guitar Festival Martinique in 1985, André received the special composition award by SACEM & CMAC;
in March 2002 he was honored by SACEM for his lifetime-achievements.
He was teaching at a private music school in Guadeloupe between 1988 and 2000, and
recorded two more albums 'Coolin' & Relaxin' in 2005 and 'The Mad Man' in 2009.
In the midst of preparations for two new projects André Condouant passed away on the 8th of October 2014 at a hospital in Pointe-à-Pitre.
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