What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Sebastien Lanson

This week we feature the very fine French born jazz guitarist Sebastien Lanson.

Online Bio

Sebastien Lanson arrived in the United States in 1998 from his hometown of Paris, France, and within a short half decade has become a highly active guitarist on the Bay Area jazz scene, playing regularly with the jazz legend Louie Bellson, and other well established artists. He is a versatile performer with a guitar style that adapts readily to both ends of the jazz spectrum - from traditional to contemporary.

Taking up the guitar at age 14, he began formal training one year later with his aunt, Marie-Nonne Lanson, a professional classical performer and teacher. His musical education continued at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, an affiliate of The Berklee College of Music in Boston, spending four years studying composition, improvisation, and arranging. He attended master classes with such jazz greats as Gary Burton, Randy Brecker, and Steve Swallow, and studied for several years with jazz guitar master Philippe Petit. In France, he played in some of the most famous Parisian jazz clubs, including Le Ducs des Lombards, Alliance Jazz Club and Le Petit Journal.

Sebastien's arrival in America in 1998 was a pivotal point in his musical career. Meeting Fred Berry, the director of the Stanford University Jazz Orchestra, changed his life. "Taking me under his wing, he invited me to play with his orchestra, and with some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world." Those musicians include such major artists as Bobby Hutcherson, Bob Florence, Wycliff Gordon, Billy Higgins, John L. Worley, Jr. and Louie Bellson. "Only a few months after I arrived, I recorded a CD with the Stanford Orchestra and Louie Bellson. I never imagined that possibility before coming to the United States."

While a part of The Stanford Jazz Orchestra, he toured Europe, playing at The Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland, and the Luxembourg Garden in Paris.

Sebastien is a regular participant at the major California jazz venues, among them the San Jose Jazz festival, the Pacifica Jazz Festival, and Jazz on the Hill. For the past four years, he has been a teacher and performer at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, one of the most well known jazz workshops in the world.

Sebastien currently performs with a variety of groups that reflect his eclectic taste in music. As part of the Fil Lorenz Little Big Band and the Collective West Jazz Orchestra, he explores the straight ahead sound made famous by Blue Note. He has also appeared with the R & B inspired Nick Rossi Set, playing the upstairs lounge at the Fillmore, the Black Cat and Bruno's in San Francisco, and the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. Additionally, he performed with the Louie Bellson Jazz Orchestra, the Filoli "All Star" Repertory Jazz Band, and the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. Sebastien has also been collaborating with High Spies, a disco house production team and performance group.

While interaction with other musicians and styles gives Sebastien exposure to considerable new material, his own musical creativity develops most when playing with his own ensembles, such as the Sebastien Lanson Trio. "Because the three of us are so comfortable with each other, we are free to challenge, to experiment, and to explore. The result is often inspiring. The Trio is the perfect way to develop my voice and grow as a musician."

That growth can be heard firsthand on Sebastien's first solo CD, In Transit[ion] scheduled for release in April of 2004.

Sebastien Lanson's website: http://www.seblanson.com/

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot in Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc endorse Heritage Guitars and is a featured artist on their website. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps, great for jazz (and anything else!)

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