born in 1965 in Bayonne, Aquitaine, France
Links www.sylvainluc.fr (English, French)
He tours regularly but rarely appears in high-profile jazz festivals. He is particularly attracted to duets, but he has also been seen in trios (his own, plus Trio Sud, and on tour in 2009 with Steve Gadd and Richard Bona) and rarely with larger groups. His best-known works are the two duet albums with Biréli Lagrène, with whom he has toured many times.
Childhood and musical studies
Luc was born in Bayonne, France, the youngest of three brothers. He studied at the prestigious Academy de Bayonne as a child, mastering the guitar, cello, violin, and mandolin. His two elder brothers (Gérard, the eldest, playing the accordion and Serge, playing drums) were both musicians who regularly played in balls. At the age of 4, he laid his hands on a toy guitar with only three strings left on it and was allowed to accompany his brothers on rehearsals. Even at such a young age, he was able to play accurate chords. As a result, he started touring with his brothers playing balls at a very early age.
Being immersed in a musical environment, he was regularly in touch with other musicians. One of them, the late Joe Rossi (who taught accordion to his elder brother Gérard), suggested that he to listen to (and offered him an LP of) Joe Pass (Portraits of Duke Ellington). This, and other encounters at his parent's home (in particular guitar player Michel Ducau-Lucart, who offered him his first guitar), led him to listen to, and appreciate, jazz music.
At age 9 he performed for the first time on an album with his brothers (Elgarrekin), and played in the first part of a concert of Joe Dassin with a local group. He also entered the conservatoire of Bayonne. While the guitar is his instrument of choice, there were no courses for the guitar at the conservatoire, so he chose to study cello instead, and gained a taste for classical music. Luc has commented that his study of the Cello helped him build strength in his fingers which was beneficial for guitar.
At age 12, he performed on a second album with his brothers, Oinakarin. He also became fluent with other instruments along the way, including the mandolin, the violin and the bass.
Beginning of solo career
At age 15, Luc formed a jazz group called the "Bulle Quintet," and quickly gained recognition. Two years later, in 1982, he and his group were elected laureate of the international festival of San Sebastian.
He quickly became the most sought-after guitarist and bassist in the Basque region, and began to tour regularly. In 1985, he met Marie-Ange Damestoy and became her guitarist, arranger and composer. Two years later, in 1987, they were nominated revelation of the Printemps de Bourges.
Paris and after
In 1988, he settled in Paris and became an arranger, composer and accompanist to many different French artists, including Catherine Lara, Michel Jonasz, all while being the bassist for the Richard Galliano trio.
Among the musicians he has played with are Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michel Legrand, Erkan Oğur, Richard Bona, Steve Gadd, Biréli Lagrène, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Stéphane Belmondo, Manu Katché, Michel Portal, Bobby Thomas Jr., Andy Sheppard, Jacky Terrasson, André Ceccarelli, Jean-Marc Jafet, Alain Caron, Didier Lockwood, John McLaughlin, Bernard Lubat, Lokua Kanza, Richard Galliano, Ivan Paduart, Steve Lukather, Keyvan Chémirani, Billy Cobham, Victor Bailey, Dario Chiazzolino, Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola and Tommy Emmanuel.
Sylvain mostly plays Godin Multiac guitars, both the nylon and steel string versions. He also, but less frequently, plays with the Godin 5th Avenue series (he is seen with a black 5th Avenue guitar on his album Standards).
He also plays classical guitars.
Sylvain plays mostly plays fingerstyle, even with a steel string guitar, and sometimes uses a plectrum, often switching during the course of a single song.
Luc sometimes detunes the sixth (and even fifth) strings of his guitars (sometimes up to an octave below normal), both to emulate a bass sound while accompanying and to accompany himself in solos.
- 1993 Piaïa
- 1994 Petits Déjà..., with Louis Winsberg
- 1998 Piaïa Naïa Le Voyage Désiré, with Francis Lassus
- 1999 Nahia, with his brothers Serge (drums) and Gérard (accordion)
- 1999 Ameskeri, with Stéphane Belmondo
- 1999 Duet (Dreyfus), with Biréli Lagrène
- 1999 Sud (Dreyfus), with Trio Sud
- 2001 Trio Sud (Dreyfus), with Trio Sud
- 2003 Ambre (Dreyfus)
- 2006 Joko (Dreyfus)
- 2008 Young and Fine, with Trio Sud
- 2009 Standards (Dreyfus)
- 2009 Sumertime, with Biréli Lagrène
- 2010 Original Album Classics
- 2011 Organic (Dreyfus), with Thierry Eliez and André Ceccarelli
- 2012 Best Moments (Dreyfus), with Biréli Lagrène
- 2013 Souvenirs D'enfance (Just Looking)
- 2014 Giu' La Testa (Just Looking), with Stefano di Battista
- Marmande, Francis (2013-09-09). "Sylvain Luc, guitariste tout terrain" (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "Sylvain Luc Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Sylvain Luc Biography". JustLookingProductions.com (in French). Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Guitar Virtuoso Sylvain Luc On the Road in Québec". GuitarPlanet.eu. 17 February 2012. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- ""Sylvain Luc, le petit géant," a video about Sylvain Luc, was first broadcast on the TV channel Mezzo" (in French). Google. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Sylvain LUC". DisquesDreyfus.com (in French). Retrieved 2013-11-17.
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