J.J.Milteau

J.J.Milteau

BandBluesSoul

"The top French harp player... A crowd pleaser with his lightning quick blues playing". The "Soul Conversation" project revisits blues, soul, folk and rock sounds with flair and originality. JJ Milteau’s new album introduces 2 first-class Afro-American vocalists, M.Robinson and R. Smyth.

Biography

J.J. MILTEAU “Soul Conversation”
On the strength of his recent Parisian triumph (two weeks of standing only crowds at the Sunset) in the wake of his latest opus, the world’s leading harmonica player initiates this Conversation built around the vocals of two Afro-American vocalists of note, Michael Robinson and Ron Smyth. You can expect their mix of blues, soul and country-rock to make new adepts as the duo’s soulful vocals, Manu Galvin’s sweet guitar lines and JJ’s acrobatic harp battle at will.

Jean-Jacques Milteau is a harmonica player born in Paris in 1950.

He falls in love with the harmonica in the sixties after listening to the records of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. A trip to the US gives him an opportunity to try his luck first-hand with the blues, and he launches into a musical career at the end of the 1970s, at first as a sideman with various leading French pop artists including Yves Montand, Eddy Mitchell, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Maxime Le Forestier, Barbara, Charles Aznavour. JJ's virtuosity allows him to play in a wide array of musical styles, from blues to jazz, or even musette and other popular styles.

The release in 1989 of his first solo album, «Blues Harp», marks the start of his career as a bandleader with Manu Galvin on guitar. When he's not touring, JJ finds time for other activities, including the writing of several instructions books for harp players. He also hosts a weekly radio show for the TSF network. Other albums include «Explorer» for which he received his first Victoires de la Musique (the french Grammy), «Routes» and «Bastille Blues», all showcasing his eclecticism and formidable mastery of the harmonica.

A major change takes place in 2001 with the «Memphis» album, recorded for Universal in the US with major African-American blues artists, under the direction of producer Sebastian Danchin. This recording is awarded a Victoires de la Musique the following year in the Best Blues Album category. «Memphis» and JJ's following sets («Blue 3rd» in 2003, «Fragile» in 2006 and «Live Hot n'Blue» in 2007, all recorded for Universal) have various characteristics in common :

a strong blues-soul leaning
a mix of original compositions and covers
the marked presence of American blues singers and players, most of them very well-known, including Terry Callier, Gil Scott-Heron and Michelle Shocked
a perfect balance of vocal and instrumental tracks (guitar, keyboards, horns...)

In this second period of his recording career, JJ Milteau seems to have reached full-grown artistic maturity. It helps him further his musical ambition, concentrating more on the whole band sound than on any specific instrument, like Paul Butterfield before him.

Discography

Soul Conversation - 2008
Live, Hot n'Blue - 2007
Fragile - 2006
Blue 3rd - 2003
Memphis - 2001
Bastille Blues - 1999
Merci d'etre venus - 1996
Routes - 1994
Live - 1992
Explorer - 1991
Blues Harp - 1989

As a compiler
Bon Temps Rouler, Special Alligator - 2008
Bon Temps Rouler, JJM Ideal Playlist - 2006
Inspiration, 22 Rare Harmonica Performances - 2005
Inspiration, 22 Great Harmonica Performances - 2002
For children
Manque pas d'air - 2000
Léo decouvre le Blues - 1997
DVD
J'apprends l'harmo avec J.J. Milteau - 2007
Book
Memphis Blues - 2005
(with Sebastian Danchin and Jerome de Perlinghi)
Video
J.J. Milteau Live - 1992

Set List

The "Soul Conversation" project revisits blues, soul, folk and rock sounds with flair and originality. JJ Milteau’s new album introduces two first-class African-American vocalists, Michael Robinson and Ron Smyth, with the added attraction of JJ’s long time guitar associate, Manu Galvin, bass player Gilles Michel and drummer Christophe Deschamps. In addition to several original compositions penned by various members of the group, this set showcases unconventional readings of classics by the likes of Curtis Mayfield, J.B. Lenoir, Stephen Stills and the Jagger/Richards duet.

SOUL CONVERSATION "I’ve always loved voices, and in blues music, it is the role of the harmonica to converse with the singer. The harp isn’t supposed to stand out, it’s there to discuss, emphasize, comfort, tickle and translate, creating a musical setting fit for the singer to express himself."