Éléa Saunier

ÉléaÉléa Saunier est une jeune artiste bilingue de 18 ans qui habite à Vancouver depuis 2011. Étant née à l’île-de-la-Réunion, Éléa est d’origine française et a vécu au Québec pendant 11 ans.

À l’âge de 14 ans, elle commence à écrire ses propres chansons. L’hiver suivant, elle enregistre 4 de ses compositions au studio Production Chaumont à Mont-Tremblant. « Ce fût une première, mais superbe expérience pour moi. » dit-elle. À la suite de l’enregistrement Une française à Montréal, Éléa tourne son tout premier vidéoclip, toujours en collaboration avec Pascal Chaumont (Star Académie 2009).

Par la suite, avec plusieurs contacts et amis musiciens, Éléa décide de monter son propre spectacle. Le 28 Avril 2011. « C’est ce soir-là que j’ai eu mon déclic; je veux vraiment faire cela de ma vie. »

L’été 2011, la famille Saunier déménage à Vancouver. Éléa s’adapte rapidement et dès sa première année, commence à chanter et à donner des spectacles au sein de son école. ‘’Je me suis vite adaptée, et rapidement, j’ai recommencé à chanter et à donner des spectacles au sein de mon école et de la francophonie’’.

2012-2013 est une année très chargée musicalement pour Éléa avec une dizaine d’engagements professionnels (première partie de Lisa Leblanc, Nouvelle Scène, Fête de la St Jean à Kamloops, Diner en blanc à Vancouver) et de concours (Pacifique en chanson où elle gagne le prix du public et le prix de la chanson primée avec sa toute nouvelle composition : ‘’La scène avant le show’’).

Éléa est acceptée à Capilano University dans le programme Musical Theater et le programme Jazz.
Elle choisit le programme Jazz et y rentre en septembre 2013.

Fin 2013 elle participe avec sa soeur et son père à
Un air de famille de Radio-Canada et se fait coacher par Bruno Pelletier.

Expériences :
– 6 années en SAE théâtre
– Chant chorale (2 années)
– Festival de Laval (2 années)
– Concours Festival Allard (duo père-fille – finale)
– Éléa chante et invite… ses amis – Show 28 Avril 2011 – St Jean, Qc
– Séance d’enregistrement avec Production Chaumont (4 compos)
– Gala Révélations (finale/coups de cœurs) – 2010
– Festival de la chanson de St-Ambroise – 2010 et 2011
– Nombreux spectacles/représentations : La Boussole, CSF, Alliance Française…
– Vidéoclips (Arrêtez-moi, Une française à Montréal, Je pense à toi)
– Séance d’enregistrement en anglais « Falling like a snowflake » – Azalea, Vancouver, BC
– Première partie de Lisa Leblanc 24 Novembre 2012 – Vancouver, BC
– Nouvelle-Scène 8 Mars 2013 – Vancouver, BC
– Pacifique en Chanson (Prix Chanson Primée et Choix du Public) le 25 mai 2013 – Vancouver, BC
– Make Music Vancouver -1er juin 2013 – Vancouver, BC
– Fête de la St-Jean-Baptiste – 2 spectacles le 24 Juin 2013 – Kamloops, BC
– Fête du Canada 1er juillet 2013 – Canada Place – Vancouver, BC
– Diner en blanc 22 août 2013 – Vancouver, BC devant 2750 personnes
– Un Air de Famille 10 octobre 2013 – Radio-Canada – 1M de téléspectateurs, Montréal, Qc


Judy Niemack (in Canada)

KCVCBNNBEGLGTXBRYEFBRVRJWBUXTB“If you want to know what real jazz singing can be (but rarely is), listen to Judy Niemack…She is a musician in the truest sense, having mastered her instrument (a beautiful one), and her chosen language and crafted her own style”
Dan Morgenstern
Throughout her career, Judy Niemack has accomplished a great deal as a singer, educator, lyricist, composer, and inspiration to younger jazz vocalists. Yet with all that she has done thus far, one gets the impression that the best is yet to come. “I love standards and have performed them all of my life but this is a new era and it is time to create new music,” she says. “I’m open to all forms of vocal improv and I’m very interested in mastering the art of music and pushing the art form forward to new places.”

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Judy gained experience singing in her church choir. She first heard jazz through her mother’s Nancy Wilson records, and discovered that she could easily sing harmonies when she and her sister sang background vocals behind her brother, who played guitar and sang lead. As a child and as a teenager, she sang in a wide variety of settings including musical theatre, rock bands, with folk music groups, and in a jazz vocal quartet.

Judy studied classical singing but the turning point in her young career was when she met the great tenor-saxophonist Warne Marsh, who followed in the footsteps of his teacher pianist Lennie Tristano by becoming an important jazz educator. “I became Warne’s first vocal student. He treated me like a horn player. He assigned me solos by Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge and others to learn. I learned about improvising from him. He called it instant composition.” Judy attended Pasadena City College where she had lessons with alto saxophonist Gary Foster, and studied classical singing at the New England Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute Of Music. When she returned to the Los Angeles area, she continued studying with Marsh and, after moving to New York in 1977, her first important gig was performing at the Village Vanguard for a week with Marsh. She made her recording debut, leading the first of her ten CDs, By Heart for the Sea Breeze label, which documented her association with the saxophonist.

“During that period, I was strictly an improviser, with no thought given to entertaining or paying attention to the audience. But eventually I started focusing on the lyrics, and how to communicate with them, and then I grew as a singer.” Starting in the late 1970s, Judy became a talented composer, and a lyricist who wrote words to such pieces as Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso,” Bill Evans’ “Interplay,” Richie Powell’s “Time” and Duke Jordan’s “Jordu,” and songs by the likes of Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Dexter Gordon, Gigi Gryce, Elmo Hope, Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Bob Brookmeyer, Idrees Sulieman, Richie Beirach, Don Grolnick, Steve Slagle, Mike Stern, Johnny Griffin and many others. One of the driving forces behind her writing is the desire to have lyrics that are more modern and relevant than many that are part of the famous but overly familiar songs of the 1930s and ‘40s.

Due to her beautiful voice, fearless improvising, impressive musicianship and versatility, Judy Niemack has since worked with many of the who’s who of jazz including pianists Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Jim McNeely, Steve Kuhn, Kirk Lightsey and Kirk Nurock, saxophonists Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano and James Moody, the great harmonica player Toots Thielemans, flugelhornist Clark Terry, bassists Ray Drummond and Eddie Gomez, drummers Billy Higgins, Joey Baron, Billy Hart and Adam Nussbaum, the New York Voices, the WDR Big Band, and guitarist Jeanfrancois Prins, Judy’s husband who has worked with her since 1992.

Judy Niemack starting teaching jazz singing and improvising in the late 1970s. She has since become one of the most influential educators in jazz, and a pioneer of vocal jazz education in Europe. She taught vocal jazz at the New School For Jazz, William Patterson University, Long Island University, and New York City College and has been part of the staff at the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp since 1990. After moving to Europe, she joined the jazz faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium in 1993, and two years later became the first Professor of Vocal Jazz in Germany. She also teaches at the Musikene Conservatory in San Sebastian, Spain, has taught at conservatories in Holland and Belgium, and leads workshops throughout Europe and the world

“Our generation is probably the first to pass on information to younger singers willingly and very openly. What I love about teaching is being surrounded by music all day long, every day. I love being with singers and helping out younger vocalists, leading people onto the path towards where they want to go.” Judy’s vocal improvisation method book and CD “Hear It And Sing It! – Exploring Modal Jazz” was published by Second Floor Music in 2004, and her “Pro-Vocal Jazz Standards” was published by Hal Leonard in 2008.

As a performer, Judy has thus far recorded ten albums as a leader including her debut My Heart, Blue Bop (Freelance) with Cedar Walton, Long As You’re Living (Freelance), Heart’s Desire (Stash) which is a set of duets with pianist Kenny Barron, Straight Up (Freelance), duets with pianist Mal Waldron called Mingus, Monk and Mal (Freelance), Night And The Music (Freelance), About Time (Sony Jazz) with Lee Konitz and Jeanfrancois Prins, What’s Going On (Temps), and Blue Nights (Blujazz) with Gary Bartz and Jim McNeely. She has also recorded an upcoming CD for Blujazz centering on Summer themes called “Sun Dance”.

“Blue Nights shows off my mainstream traditional side. I recorded it to share a modern take on some of my favorite songs, which I have long loved. And my next CD, Sun Dance, celebrates my favorite season: Summer. Meanwhile I’m working on a recording for Artistshare, about singing something completely new; a project with all of my own lyrics.” Judy Niemack looks forward to the future with optimism and enthusiasm. “I have a new book and CD coming out – “Exploring Blues”, which includes performances not only by me, but also by Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Darmon Meader. I think it will help to raise the bar in vocal jazz education. In general, I hope to continue doing what I’m doing: performing, teaching, writing lyrics, working on new collaborations, and always creating new and interesting music.”

Whatever the future holds, one can be certain that Judy Niemack’s future projects will be inventive, stimulating and full of joyful surprises.

Jean-François Prins (in Canada)


Belgian Jazz guitarist Jeanfrançois Prins was born in Brussels and currently resides in Berlin. He has spent most of his adult life as a professional musician, arranger and producer; performing, recording and collaborating with many of today’s Jazz giants. He has been teaching private instrument lessons and classes in Berlin’s Music Universities, where he lead the Jazz Guitar Departments for over a decade, and gives workshops and master-classes internationally, communicating with enthusiasm his passion for this expansive music to the next generations of players.
Jeanfrançois has several current projects as a leader. His “Colliding Universes” is a 6tet which features 2 tenor saxophones, a fluegelhorn, bass and drums. “All Strings Attached” features his trio plus a classical string quartet, performing his original compositions and arrangements. “Blade Runner” features his arrangements and compositions in the thrilling atmosphere of a “film noir” of the 21st century, with cello and a groovy quartet with rhodes and electronics. “Rio de Jazzeiro” is his love declaration to Brazilian music. He also co-leads a 4tet with american saxophonist extraordinaire Andy Middleton, as well as a Belgian All Stars quintet “Tribute to Miles Davis” with trumpeter Richard Rousselet. His sixth CD as a leader “El Gaucho”, featuring his trio with Joris Teepe on bass and Victor Lewis on drums, plus guest Rich Perry on tenor saxophone was released internationally on Challenge Records in 2012.

At age 18, Prins started playing music as a self-taught improviser.

At age 19, Prins was already leading his own professional band, performing his original tunes and arrangements. He graduated as a Sound Engineer from the world famous I.N.S.A.S. Film School in Brussels, Belgium. The same year, he was awarded the First Prize for Instrumental Performance at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles, as well as the “Golden Sax”, awarded by both the French- and Dutch- speaking Jazz journalists in Belgium.

As a guitarist, Jeanfrançois Prins has performed as a leader and/or as a sideman with Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Judy Niemack, Kenny Wheeler, Bud Shank, Lew Tabackin, Gary Bartz, Jaleel Shaw, Gary Foster, Gary Bartz, John Ruocco, Andy Middleton, Bill Evans, Steve Houben, Jacques Pelzer, Ulli Jünemann, Julian Priester, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Brecker, Gerard Presencer, Uli Beckerhoff, Tim Hagans, Till Brönner, Jim Mc Neely, Kirk Lightsey, Dan Haerle, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr, Walter Norris, Kirk Nurock, Mal Waldron, Bruce Barth, Stephen Scott, Kelvin Sholar, Dan Tepfer, Jasper Soffers, Sébastien Walnier, Alban Gerhardt, Mike Richmond, Eddie Gomez, Putter Smith, Jay Anderson, Scott Colley, Rufus Reid, Hein Van de Geyn, Ricardo del Fra, Ratzo Harris, Cameron Brown, Bart Denolf, Josh Ginsburg, Bruno Castellucci, Steve Davis, Adam Nussbaum, Joe La Barbera, Jerry Granelli, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, John Betsch, Al “Tootie” Heath, Eric Vaughn, Gene Jackson, John Riley, Café, Luis Ribeiro, Pandit Sankha Chatterjee, Quincy Jones, Peter Herbolzheimer, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Darmon Meader, Theo Bleckmann, Janice Borla, Katalina Segura, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, Erwin Schrott, Beethova Obas, Lisa Werlinder…

Jeanfrançois Prins has released six CDs as a leader. The fourth one, “All Around Town” (TCB 99402), was conceived as his own musical photo album of New York City. He recorded it in trio with bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Adam Nussbaum, plus saxophonist Lee Konitz as a guest. The fifth, “Light” (GAM 918), was co-led by drummer Steve Davis, in trio with bassist Larry Kohut. “El Gaucho”, his sixth CD feat. Joris Teepe, Victor Lewis and Rich Perry is now available on Challenge Records!!

He is also featured as a soloist and accompanist on a large number of recordings.

Jeanfrançois Prins has been featured on TV in Belgium, France, Holland, Estonia, and on the satellite channel Muzzik, both in interviews and performing. In 1994, he was an actor and musician in the Belgian movie “Just Friends”, which won several prizes and was nominated for an Oscar in the United States as “Best Foreign Film”. In early 1999, the Belgian French-speaking national television (RTBF) produced a special documentary feature about his international career, both as a musician and an educator. It was also aired on the worldwide French language channel TV5 in the summer of 1999.

Several musicians have played Jeanfrançois Prins’ compositions :
“New York Stories” was recorded by his own quintet, Toots Thielemans, Judy Niemack, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr & Jack Van Poll, The Terrassa Big Band (arranged by German top arranger Peter Herbolzheimer) , the WDR Big Band (arranged by Grammy-Award winner Jim Mc Neely), Swedish movie star Lisa Werlinder (also in a Swedish lyric version “New York”), and has been used for several years as the title song of the Radio Judaïca Jazz Program in Belgium. It was also used in a TV commercial for the Belgian Postal Service, which was aired on four different channels in Belgium for six months. It was also arranged for big band by Grammy-winner arranger Jim McNeely, and by German top arranger Peter Herbolzheimer.
“Fifth Ave.” was recorded and performed by his trio, by Lee Konitz, Stéphane Mercier, and by vocalist Judy Niemack (under the lyric version “Keepers of the Masterplan”, then featured in Belgian TV game show “Génies en Herbe”, which was aired five times world-wide on the international TV5 channel.
“Cat’s Eyes” was recorded and performed by his own quintet, by singer Mary Kay, then featured in Belgian TV game show “Génies en Herbe”, which was aired five times world-wide on the international TV5 channel.
“Central Park” was recorded and performed by his trio, vocalist Judy Niemack (under the lyric title “Music Calls Me”, Swedish movie star Lisa Werlinder (in a Swedish lyric version “Sommar”).
“What” was recorded and performed by his own quartet, trumpeter Richard Rousselet’s quintet, and by Lee Konitz.

In the beginning of the year 2000, he was hired, together with Judy Niemack, to compose and perform all the original music for a documentary-film series to be aired on the Discovery Channel.

Always very involved in the groups that he decides to play with, Jeanfrançois Prins has written arrangements and originals for them (Richard Rousselet, Lee Konitz, Mary Kay, Judy Niemack, Toots Thielemans, …).

Being a sound engineer and knowledgeable about the record industry, Jeanfrançois Prins has always had a producer’s approach to his projects. He produced and arranged Mary Kay’s CD, “Make Someone Happy”, featuring Toots Thielemans. He co-produced three CDs for Judy Niemack, Richard Rousselet’s CD “Waitin’ For You”, and Sören Fischer’s CD “Don’t Change Your Hair For Me”. He produced and arranged Judy Niemack’s recording “About Time” (SONY JAZZ), her recent CDs “Blue Nights” and “In the Sundance” (BLUJAZZ). His other most recent productions include “What’s Goin’ On?” by the Terrassa Big Band, and virtuoso pianist Walter Norris’ last project “Elements ‘n Motion” (SUNBURST), and Ulli Jünemann’s latest release “Boo Hoo”. He is also consulted by colleagues on questions of sequencing, editing and choice of “takes”.

Discography as a leader

– Jeanfrançois PRINS 5tet “N.Y. Stories” GAM Jam 911

– Jeanfrançois PRINS – Judy NIEMACK “Beauty and the Prince” GAM 916

– Lee KONITZ & Jeanfrançois PRINS Trio “Live” GAM 915

– Jeanfrançois PRINS “All Around Town” TCB 99402

– Jeanfrançois PRINS “Light GAM 918

– Jeanfrançois PRINS “El Gaucho” Challenge CR 73337

Selected discography as a sideman

– Mary KAY “Make Someone Happy” feat. Toots THIELEMANS GAM Jam 912

– Judy NIEMACK “Straight Up” FREELANCE FRL CD 018

– Richard ROUSSELET 5tet “Waitin’ for You” GAM 913

– Lee KONITZ “Rhapsody” vol. 1 Paddle Wheel Records KICJ 174
“Rhapsody” vol. 2 Paddle Wheel Records KICJ 21

– Michel HERR “Just Friends” soundtrack AMC 50047

– Shigeko SUZUKI “Première” NOVUS BVCP-870 BMG JAPAN

– Judy NIEMACK “…Night and the Music…” FREELANCE FRL CD 026

– Sören FISCHER “Don’t Change Your Hair For Me” GLM EC 513-2

– R.I.A.S. Big Band + Clark Terry “Duke Ellington Project” MONS MR 874-306

– Judy Niemack “About Time” feat. Eddie Gomez, Lee Konitz SONY JAZZ 509824-2

– Terrassa Big Band “What Goin’ On”

– Meike Goosmann Quintet “Portraits” NRW

– Darmon Meader “And So Am I”

– BERLIN JAZZ ORCHESTRA “You’re Everything”

– Judy NIEMACK “Blue Nights” BLUJAZZ 3353
– Putter Smith “Desert Passes” (Coming soon!)
– Judy NIEMACK “In the Sundance” BLUJAZZ 3374
– Lisa Werlinder “U R the 1”
– Ernst Ludwig Petrowski “Ornette, etc…”
– Ulli Jünemann “Boo Hoo”
As an educator, Jeanfrançois Prins had an early start. Although he started playing music fairly late, he had a wide knowledge of the jazz tradition and the history of music in general because of being brought up in his parents’ record store, which specialised in Jazz and Classical music.

As a child, he spent much of his free time listening to records and singing along with them, learning improvised solos by heart. He also started to play them for his friends, and even for adults, quizzing them in “blindfold tests”. By the time he reached adolescence, these listening sessions had become a sort of institution, and musicians and non-musicians alike attended them regularly.

When Jeanfrançois began playing guitar, at age 17, many musicians knew him already and they would often drop by and hang out in the back room of the record store, giving him musical advice. There Prins started a Saturday afternoon jam session which quickly became a weekly workshop. Some veterans like Hein van de Geyn, Philip Catherine, and Jean-Louis Rassinfosse were there, but also some new and inexperienced musicians. They worked on new tunes, chord progressions and interplay each week. For the young musicians, the sessions started earlier, just with Jeanfrançois, who taught them how to improvise, phrase with Jazz time feeling, develop a personal tone, listen to the others and react. He wasn’t only teaching how to play the guitar, but also taught improvisation for the saxophone, flute, piano, drums, trumpet, …

Prins’ method was always very interactive, and organic. “If you don’t hear something, don’t play it. Listen to many musicians playing the same compositions and compare. Teach yourself to hear the notes which, at first, sound foreign to you. Once you understand them in a natural, physical way, then you can incorporate them into your own vocabulary”.

For several years, he had regular private students at home, both younger and older than him.

In the Winter of 1995, Jeanfrançois Prins was invited by the Jazz Faculty of the H.D.K. Berlin to audition as a guitar teacher. He was then hired as the new Jazz guitar teacher of the H.D.K.. There, he soon began teaching classes (Jazz History Class, Listening & Analysis, Transcription, …) and ensembles (Ellington, Monk, Guitar Ensemble, …). In all of these classes, some of which were his own creations, he brought a multimedia dimension, showing videos, playing CDs, and interacting directly with the students. Starting in the Summer semester of 1998, he has had a Guest Professorship at the U.D.K for two years.

In the meantime, he was asked to audition as a guitar teacher at the HfM Hanns Eisler in Berlin, was accepted, and has been teaching Methodik/Lehrpraxis classes, private guitar lessons and created a Lennie Tristano ensemble there.

In 1999, he became the leader of the guitar section in the Hanns Eisler’s Jazz Department. In 2006, both of Berlin’s Jazz Departments (UdK and Hanns Eisler) merged into the brand-new JIB (Jazz Institute Berlin).

In 2000, he joined the faculty of Peter Herbolzheimer’s BuJazzO (Bundes Jazz Orchester), and kept working with him in his European jazz Academy and Masterclass workshops.

In 2009, he joined the faculty of the JAZZINTY International workshop and Festival in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, along with Andy Middleton and Randy Brecker, and has been part of the yearly festival/workshop four years in a row.

Jeanfrançois Prins considers teaching as a natural thing to do for a musician. He wants to share his knowledge and simultaneously learn from his students. That is the way that Jazz has evolved and will continue its evolution from one generation to the next.

Jeanfrançois Prins’ music is poetic and passionate. One can hear him in a large variety of styles, from solo to big-band with orchestra. He enjoys risk-taking improvisation and organic interaction. His lyrical fusion of romance and hard-swinging guitar is influenced by his encounters with World Music, Latin Jazz, French Chanson, Contemporary Classical music, Avant-Guarde and Pop.

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