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Andre Ceccarelli


With the release of his solo albums, Ceccarelli in 1978 and Andre Ceccarelli in 1981, André Ceccarelli became one of European jazz's most promising young musicians. Joined by top-ranked jazz and progressive players, including Didier Lockwood, Jannick Top, Christian Escoude, and Francois Jeanneau, and vocalist Alex Ligertwood of the Brian Auger Band and Santana fame, Ceccarelli set the pace for a pair of memorable recordings. Ceccarelli's later work came as a sideman for Sting and Bireli Lagrene. For the drummer from Nice, "carte blanche" meant above all a magnificent opportunity to celebrate jazz in all its facets, from trio to choir, in the intimate and concentrated atmosphere of the studio (primarily the Studio 28 operated by Frédéric Bétin in Antibes) or the fiery playing style and warm proximity between musicians and audience possible in a club like the Duc des Lombards.
"Recording this double album was a splendid worry for me," Dédé admits today. "It took six months of work, but it was really an enchantment. What interests me first and foremost in music is communion. On this occasion I really got spoiled. I was very proud to have been able to assemble so many musicians for this 'carte blanche' project. I'm happy with the results and I feel great about it."

"Symbolically", André wanted to inaugurate the album with the entire Ceccarelli dynasty present: Jean, the father and master drummer from whom the rest flows, but also his brother Jean-Paul and his son Régis. "The four of us together accompany Stephy Haik, a young, unknown singer who I discovered through a friend, completely by accident, on the Internet. As soon as I heard her I wanted her to be on the first track of this 'carte blanche'."
With André Ceccarelli, as every track on this album proves, technical mastery and faculty for adaptation go hand-in-hand with stylistic maturity and musicality. But "Dédé" is not only one of the best drummers in the world, he is above all a sensitive and generous artist who is completely committed to the adventure of music, enriched by the friendship and admiration of all those who have the chance to play with him.

Testimonials from a few of the guests on this "Carte Blanche":

Laurent de Wilde: Andre is often introduced as a "great professional", someone for whom there is no unknown detail of drumming or rhythm. For me such a description fails to dig below the surface, because you also need to mention his regal sense of tempo, his feline subtlety with sticks or brushes, his capacity to put his whole life into a solo, and his ability to interpret any musical style like putting on a glove. And there is a sound associated with all this. So when you play with him the depth of his passion for his art helps you naturally give the best of yourself. It is a rare and precious feeling as well as an honor, one that I savor with each of our collaborations.

Didier Lockwood: André is unique and magical. He is a real jazz "cat". Without a doubt he is one of the great masters of the drums who is also a marvelous rhythmic contrapuntalist. He makes his drums sound the same way that he naturally punctuates his words-with all the charm of his accent from the south. Through his constant musicality Dédé is the best possible partner for a soloist. I love him for his great talent, but also for his simplicity, his gentility, and the particular attention that he has always paid to young musicians.

Richard Galliano: A formidable ball of energy and precision, Dédé is a drummer who exudes ideas. He constantly stimulates the imagination of all the musicians he plays with. Believe me, that's a rare gift!

Baptiste Trotignon: Imagine yourself at the wheel of a splendid collector's item limousine cruising along a sunny coast. Far from the "fast and furious", the car rolls slowly along, motor purring with power and serenity; it's a beautiful warm day, the top is down and a gentle hint of a breeze is blowing...that's what the pleasure of playing with André is like...Thanks, André!

Sylvain Beuf: I was profoundly touched to play with Dédé again. His absolute mastery of the "skins" and his melodic lyricism are always at the service of the ensemble sound. He likes to go off the rails, explore other paths. By his side, one has the impression of strolling with a "faun"-a picture of happiness.

Rémi Vignolo: Regarding this double album of André's, I was initially surprised by the time that passed between each session and the number of different formations and styles that we played, to such a point that I asked myself what all these "instants" could have in common and how they would fit together on an album. Then I realized that the link, the element of cohesion, was Dédé himself-his IMMENSE culture and his highly personal way of transcending genres by appropriating them liberally for himself. I finally realized that his talent wouldn't hold on a single disc. Like Daniel Humair or Aldo Romano he is one of the true "monsters" of the drums.

David El Malek: The first time I heard Dédé was on one of his first albums, whose title I have forgotten. I do remember that he had quite a few guests, including Pierre Mimran. I listened to that album over and over and to this day it remains profoundly spiritual, which sums up in a word everything I love about a musician. At that time I wasn't yet a sax player. But I remember that his way of playing the drums made a deep impression on me. Later, when I had the good fortune to meet him I immediately mentioned that album that had been so important to me. His reaction was extremely humble, on the verge of embarrassment. What a great one he is, always totally present in every phrase he plays. It's a music lesson for all of us.

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