Home » Jazz Musicians » Ghost Rhythms

Ghost Rhythms

Having so far self-released three studio efforts, French ensemble Ghost Rhythms present their first live album, and debut Cuneiform release, Live at Yoshiwara, recorded in front of a small audience just before Christmas 2018 at Les Frigos in Paris – in the very room that serves as the setting for their weekly rehearsals.

Ghost Rhythms is led by composers, drummer Xavier Gélard and pianist Camille Petit. Together, they have composed the entirety of the band’s material except for this one-off project originally designed to coincide with the band's tenth anniversary. For Live at Yoshiwara, they invited the other members to contribute pieces of their own for the first – and possibly only - time.

These two have known each other since the mid 90s and worked in a variety of rock and progressive rock-type ensembles. With neither of them having any background in jazz, but both having interest in forming a jazz ensemble, they recruited jazz and classical players, making it clear that they would provide all the composed music, their view being that an interesting balance between immediacy and a more cerebral approach would be achieved between their own background as self-taught, prog-rock-influenced composers/musicians and by the academically-trained classical/jazz musicians who made up the rest of the ensemble.

By 2008, Ghost Rhythms were up and running and regularly gigging in various small Paris venues, but had yet to come to the attention of established media and institutions. This began to change when the band won prizes in several talent contests: at the Boule Bleue festival in the Somme in September 2008 (they were invited back for a headlining slot at the 2009 edition), the Jazz à La Défense festival in Paris in June 2012, where GR came 3rd and 2nd in the Best Ensemble and Best Composer categories, and the Jazz en Baie festival near the Mont-Saint-Michel in September 2013. The La Défense prizes in particular proved instrumental in getting booked in Paris’ leading jazz clubs, such as the Sunset, where they won yet another talent contest.

With their first release on an international label and with a decade of work behind them, Ghost Rhythms, who are one of the world’s lesser-known, great, boundary-blurring ensembles, take a step into the spotlight...


Album Review

Ghost Rhythms: Spectral Music

Read "Spectral Music" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

After the self-produced Imaginary Mountains (2020) French experimental collective Ghost Rhythms returns to Cuneiform Records with a sequel to Live At Yoshiwara (Cuneiform Records, 2019). With roughly ten pieces, it is a band with a wide range of tonal colors; the band's leaders, drummer Xavier Gélard and keyboardist Camille Petit, have resumed their compositional role (with a bit of input from other band members). “Parapente/Paraglider" opens the album with a minimal keyboard groove and voices, joined by the rhythm section ...

Album Review

Ghost Rhythms: Live at Yoshiwara

Read "Live at Yoshiwara" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

French ensemble Ghost Rhythms present their first live album, recorded in front of a small audience in their rehearsal space. While there is no real venue named Yoshiwara, there is an infamous Yoshiwara district in Japan, which in turn lent its name to the depraved red-light district and club in Metropolis, Fritz Lang's 1927 silent sci-fi movie. So this performance is set in an imaginary place, evoking a dreamlike atmosphere (which is further extended in the individual credits for the ...

Read more articles
“Mysterious and beguiling...gloriously expansive and darkly cinematic...a highly enjoyable and melodic album intricate chamber jazz arrangements for...medium sized ensemble...” – Bird Is The Worm


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Spectral Music

Cuneiform Records


Imaginary Mountains

Self Produced


Live at Yoshiwara

Cuneiform Records


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.