Nguyên Lê

A prolific recording artist since the 1980s and esteemed for the ensembles in which he’s participated with other musicians and for his enthusiastic reception of many varieties of music – on his website there’s quite a list of his interests, ranging from rock, jazz, and various kinds of ethnic music to the specifically improvisational jazz of Yves Robert and to contemporary classical composers like Mauricio Kagel, the late André Almuro, and Tona Scherchen – the Parisian jazz guitarist Nguyên Lê frequently tours abroad; the playlist I’ve put together includes videos of some recent gigs in New York and Germany. (In addition to his Youtube channel, he maintains a Myspace page, where he’s uploaded a few tracks in addition to those he’s featured on his website.)

He’s worked especially often with the tabla player, percussionist, and vocalist Prabhu Edouard (who’s already been featured here), but also with Paolo Fresu and Dhafer Youssef; and recently the singer Julia Sarr played an important role on his album Songs of Freedom.

It’s not surprising that he holds Jimi Hendrix in the highest regard and has honoured him with some special versions of his songs. A bit unexpected, though, is a memorable cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”