of choice: Chromatic
Who is Jean
get acquainted to him, let’s go back in time. Everything is
beginning in the end of the forties, in an harmonica club
called " Charm ", founded by Albert RAISNER. Jean is
is often there with his first trio " Les Vagabonds de
In 1949, he is contacted by Borrah MINEVITCH to be part of the
new european famous ensemble : the " Rascals ". But
he is under 20 and is obliged to decline the proposition to
which his father is firmly opposed.
In 1951 he wins the harmonica Coupe de France, at Pleyel
concert hall, with his trio re-named " Hudson Trio
". He is already noted for his mastery of all types of
harmonicas and wins several prizes among them the radio
station " Europe 1 " Cup, in 1953, with " René
GARY Trio ". He is elected CFH President (Confédération
Française de l’Harmonica) in 1958, with René GARY as
technical director and Albert RAISNER President of Honour. In
1959, with René GARY and Claude RAGUET,the trio Gary named
the " Parisians "for the occasion, he makes his
first records, (two 45), in New york , USA, where he
occasionally stays. The adventure of the trio Gary will end
with the death of René Gary in 1987 (Claude Raguet will die
Jean is registered at the SACEM (French society of composers,
authors and publishers), since 1971, as songwriter and since
1979 as publisher.
Trio GARY joins the " HOTVILL’S " in 1973. This
associaton is named " NEW HOTVILL’S ", then in
1977 it becomes " PHILARMONICA ", produced by the
new society P.S.B. (Productions Stéphanie Bertrand), idea of
his wife Danielle (Air France stewardess) who manages it with
him, until her death in 1980.
With P.S.B., he directs and is in charge of the technical
direction for a number of records : variety, atmospheric
music, world music, etc. Air France crew member for more than
thirty years (he has spent 22.995 hours in planes), his
compositions have been broadcasted on the musical channels on
board of the planes of this company he has left in 1985.
In 1990 he creates France Harmonica Associaition of which he
is Founder President.
In 1991, he is appointed IHO (International Harmonica
organization) vice president for Europe, and representative
for this association, he travels all around the world (Europe,
Asia, USA, etc.), taking part in most of the greatest
harmonica events. In October 2009, he will be in Trossingen
for the WHF (World Harmonica Festival) as jury member for the
worldwide competition taking place during this big event.*
During the nineties Jean Labre will play successively in the
trios "Hotvill's" and "Harmonica Swingers"
(renamed "The Parisians"), as soloist.
In 2005, he creates the french/japanese trio "Les
Parisiens" (soloist Nami Miyata, bass Maurice Bailly,
chord Jean Labre).
His discography that you will see underneath lists 17 works,
(four 45, seven LP 33 and six CD), realised between 1959 and
With this, we hope you'll now better know Jean Labre and wish
you'll enjoy the visit of his website.
New Hotvill's quintet (1974), from left : Jean Labre,
Claude Raguet, Michel Evain, René Gary and Maurice Bailly,
Jean Labre has always been open to all musical styles.
That’s why some harmonica purists may be surprised at
reading this discography which includes some recordings with
very few, or even no harmonica interventions, but in which he
established himself as creator, composer and director.
For example his album " Fantastica Batucada " is an
illustration of his interest in world music and to realise it
he studied during two years the brazilian percussions. It is
the same with genre music, in his record of european musics,
" Europe en Musique ", when he marries harmonica
with accordion and several other instruments traditionally
european. He also loves provençale folklore and the academy
" Lou Rode " for which he composed and recorded
several titles mixing harmonica with folk ensembles
(tambourine players). We must not forget his interest in
atmospheric music illustrated by " Vol de Nuit ".
Composed in memory of Saint Exupéry, this album was also
realised and directed by himself, a proof of his eclectism
that you’ll discover underneath.
1960 - " THE PARISIANS " 45t, Bullseye records
B-1028 (5057/58) USA
1960 - " THE PARISIANS ", Argyle records A-1006
1974 - " NEW HOTVILL’S " 33t, Sonopress St 69631
1977 - " PHILARMONICA” " 33t, Sonopress St 69672
1978 - " TANGO DE FRANCE " 45t, Takayama records HM
1979 - " DISCOBOLID’ " 45t, Takayama records HM
1979 - " LOU RODE " 33t et cassette PSB PF/ 79301
1980 - " NOEL LOU RODE " 33t et cassette PSB PN/80302
1981 - " VOL DE NUIT " 33t et cassette PSB PV/81303
1983 - " ALTITUDES " 33t et cassette PSB PV/83304
1985 - " HARMONIPLANE " 33t et cassette PSB PV/85305
1988 - " BATUCADA FANTASTICA " PSB PV/88312
CD et cassette (enregistré sous son pseudonyme Sacem : "
Oscar Echo ")
1989 - " EUROPE EN MUSIQUE " CD et cassette PSB
1989 - " LES HARMONICHATS " CD et cassette PSB
1991 - " HARMONICA MAN " CD et cassette PSB PV/91317
1995 - " YOKOHAMA 95 " CD J.L. / 001
2001 - " HUMANITAS " J.L. / 005
In 1992 Jean Labre realised and recorded " Charlie live
in Paris ", a CD of Charlie Mac Coy during a concert at
La Cigale in Paris (Record : PSB PV/92318). http://www.charliemccoy.com
*See our article "World Championships Story"
Photos M.Vicent-Roubert/ René Pardon/ Ameslon
“The SCT 128 is a revolution in the present harmonica world. It enables the traditional diatonic tremolo harmonica to enter the chromatic family, thus offering new choice repertoires. This instrument is also perfectly adapted to world music performances. To marry tremolo diatonic with chromatic; a great idea and a success for Suzuki Music Corporation. "