Noted French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood, a disciple of the late Stephane Grappelli, has died of a heart attack in Paris, his agent said.
Lockwood, who turned 62 on February 11, died early on Sunday morning. The night before his death, he had performed at Paris jazz venue Bal Blomet.
“His wife, his three daughters, his family, his agent, his co-workers and his record label are sad to announce the sudden passing of Didier Lockwood,” his agent said in a statement.
Lockwood was playing at a jazz festival when he met Grappelli, another French jazz great who founded a string quintet called the Hot Club of France in 1934 with gypsy guitar legend Django Reinhardt.
The violinist invited the then 20-year-old Lockwood to join him on a European tour, kicking off an international career in which he gave around 4,500 concerts and released more than 35 records.
“That was the start of my career, the launchpad that got me into the world of popular jazz,” Lockwood told Radio France in 2008.
Lockwood was committed to music education, in 2001 setting up the Didier Lockwood Music Centre in a town south of Paris teaching improvisation according to a jazz violin method he developed.
French culture minister Francoise Nyssen described Lockwood as “deeply generous and outgoing” and said he would be missed by “his friends, music and all the children he wished to enlighten with his passion”.
“He wanted to make music without borders or prejudices,” she added.
(L) Didier Lockwood performs with colleagues
Born in 1956 in Calais to a French-Scottish family, Lockwood, whose father was a music teacher, gained an early taste for improvisation thanks to his elder brother Francis, a jazz pianist.
Aged 17, Lockwood joined a popular French prog rock band called Magma. He later threw himself into a multitude of musical projects and collaborations, experimenting with varied jazz styles, both electric and acoustic, from classical fusion to gypsy swing.
During his career, he wrote two operas, violin and piano concertos, lyrical works and music for films and cartoons.
“France has lost an exceptional musician, a man with rare qualities,” wrote violinist Renaud Capucon on Twitter.
Lockwood’s widow is the coloratura soprano Patricia Petibon, acclaimed for her interpretations of French Baroque music.
The couple had just recorded an album together, said Lockwood’s agent Christophe Deghelt, who called him “Mr. 100,000 volts” and said the musician had a “huge” number of projects under way when he died.
Lockwood was previously married to the singer Caroline Casadesus, with whom he had created a musical called “Jazz and the diva”.(by The Independent)
“After Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty, France now has a third great violin player, His name is Didier Lockwood.” (Liberation, Paris). Besides Grapelli and Ponty, Lockwood’s influences include Polish violinist Zbigniew Seifert, John Coltrane, and Frank Zappa. Born in 1956, Lockwood was classically trained, but moved on to rock-inspired jazz at an early age. He followed in Ponty’s fusion footsteps with the use of the electric violin, taking it one step further by experimenting in extending the sounds of the violin.
The 1980 Live in Montreux presents Didier Lockwood at his fusion best. He has multi-Grammy winner Jan Hammer (Mahavishnu Orchestra, music for Miami Vice) along for the ride, as well as the intense, soulful American saxophonist Bob Malach. On Fast Travel, the group performs up-tempo musical legerdemain as first Malach, then Hammer, and finally Lockwood pull out their bag of tricks.
Flyin’ Kitten radiates a bouncy melodic rock-inflected ambiance, while Ballade des Fees portrays a haunting, wispy fairytale. With its infectiously gamboling 2-beat feel, there’s a folkish quality to Zebulon Dance; Lockwood’s plucked violin and Hammer’s guitar-like synth explorations are highlights. Four Strings Bitch shows off the violin’s willful eccentricities in a virtuoso one-man performance that ventures from classic and bluesy acoustic play on through to electronic experimentation.” (unknown source)
Listen to “Four Strings Bitch”: A masteroiece for the elctric violin !
All in all: a sensational album !
Recorded in the Casino Montreux July 16, 1980 and Mountain Recording Studio Montreux.
Mixed in the MPS Studio Villingen July 28, 29, 30, 1980.
Gerry Brown (drums)
Jan Hammer (synthesizer)
Didier Lockwood (violin)
Bob Malach (saxophone)
Marc Perru (guitar)
Bo Stief (bass)
01 Fast Travel (Lockwood) 7.15
02. Flyin’ Kitten (Lockwood) 7.43
03 Ballade des Fees (Lockwood) 5.01
04. Zebulon Dance (Lockwood) 3.58
05. ADGC (Lockwood) 5:46
06. Four Strings Bitch (Lockwood)3:45
07. Turtle Shuffle (Kajdan) 8.37
Didier Lockwood (11 February 1956 – 18 February 2018)
Rest In Peace !