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Grégoire Maret

DCJF Performance Date(s) and Venue(s)

June 17, 2018 4:45PM
District Pier Southwest
900 Wharf Street, SW
Washington, District of Columbia

Free Event

Artist Links
Artist Bio

Gregoire is an amazing player. His scope is broad and he's fearless. There's no one else out there that comes close on the harmonica and he rivals the best on any instrument. He's one of the most creative musicians around. - Herbie Hancock 

Gregoire Maret possesses the most original voice on harmonica since Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder. He is carrying the instrument into the 21st century with prowess, passion, and creativity. - Marcus Miller 

"Grégoire Maret is an exceptional young musician who is taking the harmonica to an exciting new placein jazz." - Pat Metheny 

"Whenever he lifts his instrument to his lips...we are transported with a sweet yet powerful intensity to a higher plane." - Cassandra Wilson 

Over the course of the past decade, Grégoire Maret has emerged as a unique and compelling new voice across a wide spectrum of the modern jazz world. That his chosen instrument - the harmonica - is a relative rarity in the genre is one element in his singular sound, but far from the whole explanation. After all, the extensive list of heavy-hitters who have enlisted him for their own projects is unparalleled: Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, and Marcus Miller are some of his most prominent employers, none of whom have the patience to employ novelty for novelty's sake. 

Having been voted one of the top miscellaneous instrument winners in a critics poll, his guest appearances on recording sessions and concert stages expand that list to even more jaw-dropping proportions: Raul Midón,Jimmy Scott, Jacky Terrasson, Richard Bona, Sean Jones, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kurt Elling, Lionel Loueke, Mike Stern, and Charlie Hunter have all made use of Maret's unmatched palette of color. More recently, he’s worked alongside some of the biggest names in music, including Sting, Prince, and Elton John at Stings’ The Concert for the Rainforest.  

Along the way, Maret has redefined the role of the harmonica, finding fresh pathways through a remarkable variety of styles. Herbie Hancock has called Maret "one of the most creative musicians around," while Marcus Miller has declared that he is "carrying the instrument into the 21st century with prowess, passion, and  

creativity." After years as one of the most in-demand sidemen and guests in jazz (and beyond), Maret made his highly anticipated first statement as a leader with his 2011 self-titled debut. The gorgeous, lyrical album opens up a wealth of possibilities for the underutilized jazz harmonica, encompassing the diversity of Maret's influences and experiences to date but retaining a unified sound evidencing accents from jazz, soul, and Brazilian music among others. 

Maret grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, the son of a Harlem-born, African-American mother and a Swiss father. After studying at the prestigious Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Genève he decided to undertake jazz studies at New York's New School University. Intending to return to Switzerland and a career as a teacher, Maret soon found himself working regularly with NYC's finest jazz musicians, and his decision to stick around for a year after graduation was extended indefinitely 

Calls came quickly from bandleaders as diverse as Jacky Terrasson, Steve Coleman, and Meshell Ndegeocello, each of whose music required Maret to expand his vision of his own instrument, an ideal that continues to this day. 

Maret continues to record, perform and tour around the world with a variety of artists as well as with his own group