Virtual Jazz at the Bechtler ft. Frédéric Yonnet
JAZZ AT THE BECHTLER: FRÉDÉRIC YONNET
When you think of traditional jazz instruments, the harmonica rarely comes to mind. That's why if you're producing a jazz concert featuring the harmonica, you absolutely need the right performer, and the March edition of Virtual Jazz at the Bechtler has just the right guy.
French-born, urban jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet’s musical skills and stage presence crush every preconceived notion you’ve ever had about the harmonica. With each performance, stereotypical walls come tumbling down as Yonnet presents the harmonica in a refreshing and modern context that is boldly stylish, enchantingly cool and absorbingly brilliant.
Just listen to his sound. It funks. It rocks. It hips and hops. It grooves. It sways. It testifies. It prays. It has a reverence for gospel, blues and jazz while appealing to a generation bred on pop, rock and hiphop.
Yonnet’s musical styling and impressive stage presence has landed him on tour with the late Prince and he can frequently be seen dueling on-stage with music legend Stevie Wonder. His collaboration with Dave Chappelle, aptly called Dave Chappelle’s Juke Joint featuring Frederic Yonnet and the Band with No Name, showcases his harmonica chops, improvisational skills, and music-directing prowess. The show, which takes partygoers on a musical journey reminiscent of the Juke Joints of the South, segues into a band vs. DJ battle with hip-hop legend Derrick “DJ D-Nice” Jones. Conceived by Chappelle and Yonnet, it's part concert, part comedy, and all-out unpredictable when their famous friends stop by to jam.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yonnet quickly pivoted in order to maintain his livelihood. Despite the cancellation of all his shows, he decided to get the band together to rehearse. He believed the music would be good for their souls. On March 29, 2020, Yonnet opened the windows of a gutted-out property and invited the neighbors to "eavesdrop" as they practiced, hoping it would be good for their neighbors’ souls as well. And, yes, in these times of physical distancing, they played it safe! They sanitized the area with UV light and used hand sanitizer and masks. They defined the walls of the rooms with plastic "curtains" to create a "Breaking Bad meets Dexter"-inspired space. They opened the windows for air, and didn't mind if the sound traveled.
It was so well received, they decided to live stream so the world could listen in. And it did! They were the only band to perform together consistently throughout the quarantine WITH a live audience. As a result, they received print and broadcast media coverage from around the world including CNN, BBC, AFP, TF1, France24, France 2 and numerous other outlets.
Yonnet signature sound can be heard on two tracks on reggae legend The Wailers first studio album in 25 years, released in August 2020. It’s also the haunting instrumental voice heard in Martin Scorsese’s Netflix’s film, “The Irishman,” released in 2019. That same year, Yonnet performed on the PBS/Netflix airing of the Mark Twain Prize Ceremony in honor of Chappelle. In 2018, Yonnet was featured in Katherine McPhee’s PBS special, in Quincy Jones’ 85th Birthday Celebration on BET, and briefly in the film and encore release of Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born.”
For more info visit fredyonnet.com