The French jazz virtuoso guitarist, Sylvain Luc, died at the age of 58, we learned Thursday from the management of the Paris Music Festival where he was due to perform. “We have just learned with amazement of the disappearance of our friend Sylvain Luc,” wrote David Godevais, director of the event, in a press release. This news plunges us into great sadness.” The musician was scheduled to perform solo on Thursday evening at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

Born April 7, 1965 in Bayonne, Sylvain Luc discovered the guitar at the age of four, then the violin and studied the cello for 10 years at the Bayonne conservatory. When he moved to Paris in 1988, his versatility allowed him to work as an arranger, composer and accompanist for French pop artists like Catherine Lara, Michel Jonasz, and international artists like Al Jarreau. A regular at Parisian jazz clubs, his talents on the guitar led him to rub shoulders with world leaders in this music, particularly in the American sphere, such as the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the drummer Elvin Jones and the singer Dee Dee Bridgewater.

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To think that he started the profession at ten years old, by recording a Basque folklore record with his older brothers, before performing with them in the balls of his native region. “The ball is a hell of a school. You find yourself playing everything you don’t want to play. But the invitation to dance, to make bodies move, is irreplaceable,” he said one day to the newspaper Le Monde. What interested him in jazz standards “is not the bravura piece or the extra chorus,” he confided. It’s the composition as it’s written, the melody, and what we have, as a performer, to tell.”