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Didier Verna: a Jazz life

Born in 1970, Didier Verna gets quickly involved in music, since he enters conservatory at the age of 5 and studies music theory for 2 years. At the age of 7, he starts learning classical percussions while continuing his theoretical studies; an opportunity for him to discover group playing and enjoy his first on-stage experiences. From this first instrumental contact with music, he will keep a sense and love for rhythm that can be heard very clearly in his playing, whether in composition or in improvisation.

At the age of 9, bored with playing without interruption the « Bolero de Ravel » on a plastic pad in order not to upset the neighborhood, he decides to try classical piano, which he will be practicing for 2 years. Despite the desperate efforts of his teacher to interest him in the exclusive and daily practice of the major scale in all possible keys, he decides to change instrument, and tries classical guitar at the age of 11.

While he likes the instrument itself, he hardly feels any interest for the repertoire, most notably given the fact that as a music listener, he is a fan of Trust, Scorpion, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and other hard rock bands whose sound he completely fails to reproduce with nylon strings. He then turns to another teacher and another, younger, guitar repertoire, and at the age of 13, he discovers the richness and complexity of Marcel Dadi's picking, along with a whole folk and blues world that he starts to like. His relationship with the guitar also tightens at that time.

His encounter, 2 years later, with French guitarist Denis Gouzil marks a decisive orientation in his musical career: he discovers Jazz with him and gets instantly passionate for this music and its improvised aspects in particular. This encounter, taking place on the guitar, seals once and for all his link to this instrument.

He studies Jazz harmony and improvisation for 3 years, and at the age of 18, starts playing in Bordeaux in various bands, like a guitar octet with Denis Gouzil and Yves Carbonne (Compagnie Lubat, Carbonne / di Piazza / Manring).

At the age of 21, he moves to Paris for his studies and continues his Jazz formation as a self-taught, multiplying musical experiences both in bands (from trio to septet, or even in a guitar sextet with a rhythm section) and in styles (jazz rock, modern jazz, brazilian...). Meanwhile, he develops a vocal jazz technique very much inspired from the work of Bobby Mc Ferrin and begins giving voice solo sessions.

In 2001, he meets pianist Thierry Lalo and creates with him a piano / vocal duet, an adaptation and extension of his solo vocal work to a total improvisation duel.

In 2002, he enters the Voice Messengers where he sings as a tenor, and meets great personalities of contemporary Jazz, such as Antoine Hervé and Glenn Ferris.

In 2006, he gets back to his main instrument and creates the @-quartet, with Gilles Naturel, Guillaume Naud and David Georgelet; a band that he equips with a repertoire of original compositions and with which he releases his first recording.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Didier Verna
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