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Nguyen Le

Born in Paris from vietnamese parents, Nguyên Lê began to play drums at the age of 15, then took up guitar & electric bass. After  graduating in Visual Arts, he majored in Philosophy, writing a thesis on Exoticism. Then he devoted to music, creating "ULTRAMARINE"(1983), a multi-ethnic band whose CD "DÉ"  has been considered "1989's best World Music album" Philippe Conrath,  Libération.  

A self-taught musician, Nguyên Lê started to play out of any stylistic borders: Rock & Funk (Jim Cuomo, Madagascar 84), Jazz standards & avant-garde Jazz (Marc Ducret, Yves Robert), Pop Singers (Ray Charles), Contemporary Music (André Almuro, Tona Scherchen, Marius Constant, Mauricio Kagel), Ethnic Music: African & Caribbean with ULTRAMARINE (85), Algerian with Safy Boutella & Cheb Mami, Indian with Kakoli, Turkish with Kudsi Erguner, Vietnamese  with the learning of  "Dan Bau" (monocorde) in 1979.

In sept. 87  he was chosen by director Antoine Hervé to play with the O. N. J.  (French  National  Jazz Orchestra). Within this big band, he played with such  musicians  as  Johnny  Griffin,  Louis Sclavis, Didier Lockwood, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Courtney Pine, Steve Lacy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones. Nguyên LE' s work also deals with programming synthetizers, effects & computers as well as writing orchestral pieces : "PROCESSOR"  composed, arranged & recorded on CD "O.N.J. 87" & "LUNIK II" co-arranged with  Dominique Borker & performed by the O.N.J. 1989.

In sept. 89 he records ULTRAMARINE's 2nd album "DÉ"  &, in may 90,  his  first album as  a leader : "MIRACLES"  recorded in the U.S.A. with Art LANDE, Marc JOHNSON & Peter  ERSKINE.  At  the same time he works  with such musicians  as  Michel  Portal,  Miroslav  Vitous, Trilok Gurtu,  J. F. Jenny Clarke, Aldo Romano, Daniel Humair, Dewey Redman, Andy Emler, Jon Christensen, Nana Vasconcelos, Glenn Ferris, Christof Lauer, Paolo Fresu, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor ...

In may 92, after a month  tour with Paul McCANDLESS on  winds, Art Lande (p), Dean Johnson (b) & Joël Allouche (d), he records his 2nd album ZANZIBAR, which gets the « ffff » award by Télérama. In Jan. 93 he records "INIT", a trio with André Ceccarelli, François Moutin & guest  Bob Berg, while setting up a new band on the music of Jimi Hendrix,  w/ Corin Curschellas (voc), Steve Argüelles (d), Richard Bona (b). Since Jan. 93 he's been a frequent guest soloist of Köln's WDR Big band,  especially with composer/director  Vince  MENDOZA. Nguyên Lê plays on three of his projects: "Jazzpaña", "Sketches" w/ Dave LIEBMAN, Charlie MARIANO, Peter Erskine, & "Downtown",  w/ Russell Ferrante. In April 94 he’s the guest soloist of "The New Yorker", a suite by Bob BROOKMEYER, with Dieter Ilg (b) & Danny Gottlieb (d). With these two musicians he set his first trio, & recorded "MILLION WAVES" in dec. 94. About this CD, Télérama writes : "This trio brings him to some musical spaces which he had not even imagined, & which are pure poetry".

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Play This!

Nguyen Le: Encanto

Read "Nguyen Le: Encanto" reviewed by Mike Jacobs

It's a rare thing to have two bassists playing together on one track let alone two at the top of opposite ends of the acoustic/electric bass spectrum, but that's exactly what guitarist Nguyen Le managed on his enthralling tune, “Encanto." From Le's album Bakida (ACT, 2000), he is joined by bass titans Carles Benavent on electric bass and Renaud Garcia-Fons playing both pizzicato and arco on upright. Not to be missed. ...

Album Review

Per Mathisen: Sounds of 3 Edition 3

Read "Sounds of 3 Edition 3" reviewed by Geno Thackara

It was just a matter of time until Norwegian bassist Per Mathisen brought this series to its logical conclusion. Where the first Sounds of 3 (Losen, 2016) pounded the floor with hard-rocking grooves, and its followup Sounds of 3 Edition 2 (Losen, 2019) went a bit subtler and jazzier, Edition 3 drops the fusion blueprint entirely. With another new and versatile pair of fellow travelers on board, Mathisen takes a left turn into impressionistic territory and paints some aural pictures ...

Radio & Podcasts

Jazz Rock and Progressive Rock new releases, plus Japanese fusion

Read "Jazz Rock and Progressive Rock new releases, plus Japanese fusion" reviewed by Len Davis

New music from Italian band Drift Lab with Matteo Mancusco, New York band Aberdeen, featuring Antonio Sanchez, Japanese fusion from T Square, Koici Yabori, FazJaz and Tomo Fujita. From Brazil Reunion with Sandro Haick and Pepe Cisneros, and The Meridian Suite from Antonio Sanchez & Migration.Playlist Drift Lab “Chatterland" from Moonlight (Self Produced) 00:00 Aberdeen “Where Y'aT" from Held Together (Self Produced) 05:51 Nguyen Le “Tigers Dance" from Silk and Sand (ACT Music) 11:40 T Square “Trial Road-Live" ...

Album Review

ARC Trio and the John Daversa Big Band: ARCeology: The Music of MSM Schmidt

Read "ARCeology: The Music of MSM Schmidt" reviewed by Jim Worsley

What would happen if fusion, already a hybrid of musical genres, was compounded with the sound of big-band? Further, that both genres were stretched well outside the box? An ensemble of bright musical minds came together on just such a project. The results could have been the disastrous soup of too many cooks in the kitchen or, perhaps, something special and creative. Fortunately, they served up an entree which is very much the latter. It starts with quality ...


Ethnic Embraces

Read "Ethnic Embraces" reviewed by Mike Jacobs

For the fourth installment in the continuing BackTracks series, we take a look at some notable releases that infuse their jazz with stylistic spice indigenous to different regions of the world—namely North Africa, the Iberian peninsula and the Balkans. As BackTracks was on a hiatus of sorts (and because these recordings seemed to emerge in matched pairs), this edition features six albums instead of the usual five. As before, there is a YouTube link below the article to a playlist ...

Album Review

Gergo Borlai: The Missing Song

Read "The Missing Song" reviewed by Jim Worsley

The Missing Song has been heralded as a tribute to Gergo Borlai's nine most influential drummers still alive and performing today. This is much more than just listing them and perhaps covering one of their songs. Borlai composed eight of the nine new songs on this album. He plays them all in the manner, or mindset, of each drummer. The thought process, and level of preparation was meticulous for every drummer and every song. The drum kit, cymbals, sticks, pedals, ...

Album Review

Nguyen Le: Overseas

Read "Overseas" reviewed by Don Phipps

Robust and compelling, guitarist and composer Nguyen Le's Overseas continues his explorations of hybrid jazz--a jazz which combines traditional Vietnamese music with a personal style of jazzy soulful funk. Ancient instruments and urban rhythms collide, creating a kaleidoscopic musical mix that is at times hopping, like a busy Ho Chi Minh City avenue, and at times peaceful, like a morning sunrise over the ocean on an deserted tropical beach. Le composed the music as part of a performance ...

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Nguyen Lé Interview

Nguyen Lé Interview

Source: All About Jazz

This interview is part of the book project “under your skin" which includes Interviews with: Anthony Braxton, Ornette Coleman, Chuck D - Public Enemy, Taj Mahal, Yusef Lateef, Melvin Gibbs, Bob James, Skip Mcdonald, Erika Stucky, Living Colour, Rhonda Smith, Dj Rob Swift, Marilyn Crispell, Dick Griffin, Billy Bang, Kahil El Zabar, Michael Ricci - All About Jazz, Val-Inc, Chico Freeman, Esperanza Spalding, Eddie Henderson, J. Mascis - Dinosaur ...


Performance / Tour

Nguyen Le Tiger's Tail Quartet Wednesday, October 18th at Iridium Jazz Club

Nguyen Le Tiger's Tail Quartet Wednesday, October 18th at Iridium Jazz Club

Source: All About Jazz

IRIDIUM JAZZ CLUB 1650 BROADWAY (Corner of 51st) NEW YORK, NY 10023 RESERVATIONS: 212-582-2121 http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com 8:30 & 10:30PM, Fri. & Sat. 3rd Sets AT MIDNIGHT

French-Vietnamese Jazz Star Makes First Major US Tour

Oct. 18 NGUYEN LE TIGER'S TAIL QUARTET Nguyen Le, electric & acoustic guitars, electronics & computer; Art Lande, acoustic piano; Paul McCandless, oboe, english horn, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Patrice Heral, percussion & drums

French-Vietnamese ...

Few musicians embody the word "fusion" more than Parisian-born guitarist Nguyên Lê. For the past 25 years he's been mining a combination of fusion by the more conventional definition—the infusion of rock energy into the jazz sphere—with fusion in a broader sense, the seamless integration of music from cultures around the world. (All About Jazz)

Nguyên Lê is a masterful, inventive player who has cultivated a wholly unique voice on the intsrument, he ranks right up there with Frisell, John Scofield, Mike Stern & Allan Holdsworth in the post Hendrix world of jazz guitar (Jazztimes)



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Sounds of 3 Edition 3

Losen Records


ARCeology: The Music...

Blue Canoe Records


John Hadfield's Paris...

OutNote Records


The Missing Song

Blue Canoe Records



ACT Music



ACT Music


Red and Gold

From: ARCeology: The Music of MSM...
By Nguyen Le


From: The Missing Song
By Nguyen Le



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