Guy Lafitte

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Poster in memory of Guy Lafitte in Saint-Gaudens

Guy Denis Ferdinand Lafitte (born January 12, 1927 in Saint-Gaudens , France , † June 10, 1998 in Simorre ) was a French jazz musician ( tenor saxophonist , initially clarinetist ). He is one of the best-known representatives of French swing and mainstream jazz of the post-war era in the tradition of Coleman Hawkins . Lafitte also processed influences from Paul Gonsalves , Don Byas and Sonny Rollins .

Live and act

Lafitte taught himself to play the clarinet as a teenager . After studying clarinet, he became a professional musician in 1945, accompanied Michel Warlop in 1947 and ran the Hot Club de Toulouse until 1948 . Lafitte eventually switched to the tenor saxophone. He then played on the European tours of American musicians such as the blues singer Big Bill Broonzy (1950), Mezz Mezzrow (1951), Bill Coleman and Dickie Wells (1952). He played with Coleman again and again later.

In Paris he played with Lionel Hampton , Lucky Thompson , Buck Clayton and Emmett Berry around 1955 . From 1956 he led his own ensembles such as the Paris Jazz Trio , to which Christian Garros and Georges Arvanitas belonged , from 1960 Franco Manzecchi and René Urtreger - in the style of the legendary trio of Lester Young - Buddy Rich - Nat King Cole . With Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, he worked on the music for the film Paris Blues in 1961 . Lafitte recorded albums with his own bands until 1993, but played again in 1973 with Bill Coleman and 1985 with Wild Bill Davis records.

Shortly before his death in 1998, the record Trio Europa was made , on which Lafitte accompanied bassist Pierre Boussaguet : It contains two impressive solos by the saxophonist and the recitation of a short poem, a tribute to his friend Johnny Griffin . After his death, Wynton Marsalis dedicated a composition to him with the simple title Guy Lafitte .

In 1955 he received the first Prix ​​Django Reinhardt .


Selected discography as leader

Selected discography as a sideman

  • Arnett Cobb Quintet: Live! (Black & Blue, 1980)
  • Bill Coleman Quintet with Guy Lafitte: Lions Abroad Vol. 3 - A Lion in Paris (Black Lion, 1973) Bill Coleman - Ben Webster - Guy Lafitte (Jazz Colors, 1973)
  • Lionel Hampton: Paris Session 1956 (EMI)
  • Peanuts Holland Sextet: Jazz In Paris: Peanuts Holland - Buck Clayton - Charlie Singleton (Emarcy, 1954)
  • Sammy Price Quintet: Le Jazz En France - Vol. 14 - Boogie Woogie A La Parisienne (Pathe, 1956)
  • Lucky Thompson Sextet: Lucky Thompson (Swing, 1956)
  • Pierre Boussaguet: Trio Europa (Emarcy, 1998)

Book publications

  • Guy Lafitte Comme si c'était le printemps Art Media Editions, 2003; ISBN 2-914002-06-8 (also includes a full discography)


Web links