Six students from Jazz à Tours who became professionnals

From Ibrahim Maalouf (french "victoire de la musique" 2014) to Gregory Porter, many musicians have teamed with former Jazz à Tours students ; and more recently many musicians and bands that started in the school have taken off.

With more than a hundred musicians entering professional training each year, Jazz à Tours is one of the most important training centers for contemporary music in France. These students come from France some from abroad, to learn the skills and tools necessary to turn their passion into a profession. Far from any formatting and any standardization, Jazz à Tours is delighted to be composed of musicians with different styles, varied personalities and multiple talents.

Below are some crossed portraits of former students of the Professional Musician Artist training and of DEM jazz.


Antoine Guillemette, from Groove Catchers to Ibrahim Maalouf

Originally from Normandy, Antoine discovered the Center-Val de Loire when he arrived at Jazz in Tours, where he followed a course leading him to DEM jazz. Despite the fact that he did not graduate, he went ahead and started a band called Groove Catchers. He moved to Paris and began to polish his network. Groove Catchers won many prizes that brought them many contacts and connections. His experience has also led him to accompany the artist Ibrahim Maalouf on tour. He testifies: "It's as cool to play in front of 50,000 people as it is in front of 30 people in a country bar, it's just different! ". Antoine has just set up his own group, Sagunn, for which he composes and creates from A to Z.



Léa Ciechelski, Kaplaa & l’Orchestre National de Jazz

Flautist and saxophonist, Léa has followed a complete course in Jazz à Tours, from MIMA to DEM jazz. She is leading several projects at the same time, including a quintet called Kaplaa and a septet with contemporary musics, Mopa. If the musician tried a few contests following her DEM, she finally interrupted everything to devote herself to creation, to the stage and to musical research. We find her in the ONJ, with which she toured in France and in Europe. Since November 2019, she has benefited from the intermittency regime, which allows her to make a living from her profession. His goal ? Leave Touraine more regularly in order to join Parisian orchestras. "Besides, I want to meet other people with different inspirations and share with them ...", explains the young woman, "all while remaining based in Tours! ".



Martin Declercq, brass bands & Gregory Porter

Martin is a trumpeter by training, he also knows how to play the trombone and the piano. "I did the "Artiste musicien professionnel" course, followed by the "DEM jazz", says Martin, who had completed a conservatory course before. When he lefte Jazz à Tours, the musician moved to Paris in order to give more chances to his career. "Ironically, the majority of the bands that have taken off come from Tours", noted the young man. Currently, the professional is a regular in a New Orleans brass band and is involved in a dozen other projects. In particular, Martin had the opportunity to accompany artist Gregory Porter on big stages such as the Olympia. "



Simon Buffaud, from jazz bands to international touring with "Trois cafés gourmands"

Simon is a double bass player and bassist. After four years spent at Jazz à Tours (and after obtaining his DEM), the musician wanted to “diversify as much as possible. I have set up a lot of projects, with the dynamic of the network created at Jazz à Tours, everything went extremely quickly ", explains the one who wasted no time in getting his intermittence. In 2019, the professional paused his artistic projects in order to take to the roads with the band Trois cafes gourmands. "We did 86 events, it was unexpected to play on big stages like the ones we did, including Olympia," he continues. After this experience, Simon hopes to devote himself more to his bands (51 shots, Little Rina and Desmos) or to go on tour again, but for a completely different aesthetic. "I like to experiment with very different styles of music," says the musician. "Moreover, it is an eclecticism that is cultivated and respected at Jazz à Tours, a rare characteristic for a music school".



Yurie Hu, Yacht Club, La Battue

Yurie is a violinist by training, she is also a singer and pianist. Originally from Korea, the musician joined Jazz à Tours to train there, in order to obtain her DEM. Out of school, Yurie was then developing a duet but did not continue to develop the project. “It's not easy to know how to do it right after the training, luckily we have our school network to bounce back and find opportunities,” she explains. Yurie, intermittent for four years, has since moved to Rennes and works in three projects that navigate between pop, rock and noise: Yacht Club, La Battue and Comme dans Il fait beau.



Valentin Pedler, guitariste dans Thé Vanille et artiste touche-à-tout

A 28-year-old guitarist, Valentin also plays the synthesizer and is a musician in several bands, including Thé Vanille, which he has been developing particularly in recent years. He left Jazz à Tours with the MIMA diploma and is now living of his art. "It fell on me, my goal was not to develop a band and make a living from it", he explains. This winner of the Jump incubator (which encourages collaborators between young local artists of which Jazz à Tours is a partner), a specialist in the DIY culture", has the ambition to set up a label. He explains: "I would like to have this freedom of production."


These portraits are taken from the study on professionnal integration of former students, published in December 2020.