Bernard Vitet

Bernard Vitet (26 May 1934 – 3 July 2013) was a French trumpeter, multi-instrumentist[1] and composer, co-founder of the first free jazz band in France (1964)[2] together with François Tusques,[3] Michel Portal Unit (1972)[4] and Un Drame Musical Instantané with Jean-Jacques Birgé and Francis Gorgé in 1976.[5]

Born in Paris, France, Vitet was involved in the early fusion of jazz and contemporary music with Bernard Parmegiani and Jean-Louis Chautemps.[6] In the 1960s, he accompanied singers such as Serge Gainsbourg,[7] Barbara,[8] Yves Montand,[9] Claude François, Brigitte Bardot,[10] Marianne Faithfull, Colette Magny,[11] and Brigitte Fontaine. He played with jazz musicians such as Lester Young, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, Chet Baker, the Art Ensemble of Chicago,[12] Steve Lacy, Gato Barbieri, Jean-Luc Ponty,[13] and Martial Solal. In his early years, he performed with Django Reinhardt, Gus Viseur, Eric Dolphy, and Albert Ayler.

Under his own name he recorded Surprise-partie avec Bernard Vitet (on trombone!),[14] La Guêpe on texts by Francis Ponge,[15] Mehr Licht!,[16] and about 200 other records with the aforementioned, plus Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, Georges Arvanitas,[17] Sunny Murray,[18] Michel Pascal,[19] Alan Silva,[20] Alexander von Schlippenbach,[21] Hubert Rostaing, Alix Combelle, Ivan Jullien,[22] Christian Chevalier, Jef Gilson,[23] Jack Diéval,[24] Jac Berrocal,[25] Hélène Sage[26] and 17 albums with Un drame musical instantané. In 1995, he co-signs the songs of Carton[27] with Birgé, with whom he collaborates on music for films, exhibitions,[28] and CD-Roms.[29]

Vitet invented instruments such as a reed trumpet, a multiphonic French horn, a variable tension double-bass, the dragoon which is a giant balafon with frying pans and flower pots keyboard, a clever system of modal clocks, and astonishing musical objects for Georges Aperghis, Tamia, and Françoise Achard. Besides trumpet, he sang and played flugelhorn, piano and violin.

He composed theatre music for Jean-Marie Serrault, and for the films (Les coeurs verts by Édouard Luntz, L'ombre de la pomme by Robert Lapoujade with Jean-Louis Chautemps, Bof by Claude Faraldo in collaboration with Jean Guérin,[30] and La femme-bourreau by Jean-Denis Bonan.

From 1976 to 2008, he devoted himself primarily to Un Drame Musical Instantané with Jean-Jacques Birgé, improvising and composing hundreds of pieces together, experimental essays as well as symphonic pieces, songs as well as music for films. Un D.M.I., as a trio or with their 15-piece orchestra, presented multimedia shows involving cinema, video, literature, dance and new technologies.

Site offers hundreds of unissued pieces free to listen and download.


  1. ^ Francis Marmande, Le Monde 07_06_2013
  2. ^ François Tusques Free Jazz, Mouloudji, 1965 (reissue In situ 139, 1991)
  3. ^ François Tusques 1992, Le jardin des délices, in situ 165, 1993 - Octaèdre, Axolotl AXO101, 1994 - Blue Phèdre, Axolotl AXO103, 1996
  4. ^ Michel Portal Unit, No, no but it may be, Le Chant du Monde LDX 74526, 1972 (reissue Universal 038 352, 2003)
  5. ^ "Bernard Vitet ne souffle plus". Retrieved 2013-07-04.
  6. ^ Bernard Parmegiani, Pop'eclectic incl. Jazzex (rec.1966), Plate Lunch PL08, 1998
  7. ^ Serge Gainsbourg En relisant ta lettre
  8. ^ Barbara Ni belle ni bonne, Madame
  9. ^ Yves Montand Il n'y a plus d'après, Quand tu dors près de moi
  10. ^ Brigitte Bardot Un jour comme un autre, À la fin de l'été
  11. ^ Colette Magny Répression, Scalen' CMPCD 03, 1972 (reissue 1990)
  12. ^ Art Ensemble of Chicago, Go home, Galloway 600502, 1970
  13. ^ Jean-Luc Ponty The beginning of..., LP Palm 19
  14. ^ Bernard Vitet Surprise-Partie "D", GEM52/D, 1954
  15. ^ Bernard Vitet La guêpe, Futura Son 05, 1971 (reissue 2005)
  16. ^ Bernard Vitet Mehr Licht!, GRRR 1003, 1979
  17. ^ Georges Arvanitas, Soul Jazz, Columbia FPX 193, 1960
  18. ^ Sunny Murray, Shandar 10.008, 1968 - Big Chief, Pathé Marconi 1727561, 1969
  19. ^ Michel Pascal Puzzle, Ina 275 742, 2000
  20. ^ Alan Silva Luna Surface, Byg 529.312, 1969 - Seasons, Byg 529.342-43-44, 1970 - Celestrial Communication Orchestra My country (rec. 1971), Leo LR 302, 1989
  21. ^ Globe Unity 67 & 70, Atavistic/Unheard Music Series, 1970
  22. ^ Ivan Jullien Paris point zéro, Barclay, 1965
  23. ^ Jef Gilson Enfin, cd FD 151922, 1962-63
  24. ^ Jack Diéval Sastanak u Studiju II, Cosmic Sounds CS26, 1961
  25. ^ Jac Berrocal Parallèles, Davantage 01, 1976
  26. ^ Hélène Sage Comme une image, GRRR 2014, 1989 - Les araignées, GRRR 2022, 1997
  27. ^ Birgé Vitet Carton, CD audio/rom GRRR 2021, 1997
  28. ^ Il était une fois la Fête Foraine, Grande Halle de La Villette (cd Auvidis), 1995 - Jours de cirque, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, 2002
  29. ^ At the Circus with Seurat, Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Gallimard / Hyptique), 1996 - Mr Men, 2001 (Hyptique-Emme)
  30. ^ Jean Guérin Tacet, Futura Son 14, 1971


  • Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli, Free Jazz Black Power, Ed. Champ Libre, coll.10-18, 1971, p. 418-419
  • Philippe Carles, André Clergeat and Jean-Louis Comolli, Dictionnaire du jazz, Ed. Robert Laffont, Coll. Bouquins, Paris, 1994, p. 1220-1221.

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