Eric Ildefonse Quintet featuring
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
11 May 2008
Click an image to enlarge.
Eric launched his career at the age of 15 in his
hometown of Le Diamant, Martinique, with the group “Les Conquérants”,
which included guitarist friend Jean Tuernal.
For the next two years in a row, this group won
the Martinican ‘Young Bands’ award with its performances
in the popular idioms of that era: Compas, Biguine, Calypso, Mazurka,
In a visit to Paris, France, in 1975, while working as an accompanist
to various groups, he gained exposure to a cosmopolitan variety
of additional musical styles and idioms such as Funk, Soul music,
Reggae, and sounds from Cape Verde, Senegal, and elsewhere in Africa
and in the world.
Artistic desire and the passion acquired for the improvisational
jazz idiom prompted him to begin formal ear training, harmony, and
rhythm studies under the supervision of well-known instructors,
while at the same time acting as coordinator for a program of music
workshops run by ARM, the Association d’Art Recherche et Musique
(ARM) of Seine St Denis in France In parallel with songwriting activities
during this period, he assembled and led his first group ensemble,
the quartet ‘Swofé’, in 1986, with René
NOTOLI on drums, Emile ROMAIN on bass, and Alain BRÜLL on saxophone.
In 1990, expanding musical horizons prompted him
to put together a new quartet called ‘Couté Sa Ti Mal,’
with Andreï SVETLOV on bass, François COTINEAU on sax,
and Guillaume GUINO on drums.
Living and working in and around the city of Gand,
Belgium, in the early nineties, he was introduced to additional
jazz styles like be-bop and free jazz by playing with various groups
in various styles, e.g., the Maxwell Price Quintet. He recorded
three of his original compositions for the CD “African Caribbean
Descendants” produced by Maxwell PRICE (featuring Byron Pope,
Eric Ildefonse, Dewey Samson, and Tony Oulabula).