10 Songs that Changed My Life

Yvonnick Prene and Mike Moreno

The Czech magazine Fullmonzine asked me to talk about 10 songs that were influential to me. I wanted to share with you the article translated in English.

Sugar Blue - Paris Session “Another Man Gone”

Back when I was just the tender age of seven, my father introduced me to "The Paris Sessions" album by Sugar Blue. During his daily commute to work, my father would often stop and listen to Sugar Blue himself playing the harmonica in the Parisian subways. That was the start of it all. I listened to the song "Another Man Gone Gone" on repeat. I was hooked. 

Jean Jacques Milteau Explorer “Blues Harp Saga”

When Jean Jacques Milteau performed in my hometown of Massy, it was the very first time I experienced a live harmonica performance. Needless to say, I was blown away. Who would've known just a few years later I'd be taking one on one lessons with both Jean Jacques Milteau and Greg Zlap at Utopia Cafe. This track in particular takes you through the various blues harmonica styles using techniques such as bending, wah-wah and tongue blocking. This track is most definitely one of my favorites!


Art Pepper + Eleven 

This was the very first jazz album I purchased as a teenager. I was fourteen and taking harmonica lessons with Sebastian Charlier while studying Charlie Parker's composition, "Donna Lee". Here I share with you my favorite Art Pepper recording.


John Coltrane “Crescent”

John Coltrane's "Crescent" came as a surprise as I continued to explore the jazz scene. I found this album in particular to be hauntingly deep in both swing and spirituality. This is most definitely something to reach for as an artist. 

Stefano Di Battista Quintet  A Prima Vista“ Funny Moon”

It was during my teenage years in which I discovered jazz and quickly took to the Chromatic Harmonica. I along with a few close friends then formed a band known as "Free Spirit" and began performing in Parisian Clubs. We covered artists such as Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Stefano Di Battista just to name a few. Funny Moon was the band's favorite.


Art Pepper + Eleven 

This was the very first jazz album I purchased as a teenager. I was fourteen and taking harmonica lessons with Sebastian Charlier while studying Charlie Parker's composition, "Donna Lee". Here I share with you my favorite Art Pepper recording. 

Michael Brecker “Two Block From the Edge” The Impaler

I've always been greatly inspired by saxophonists such as Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane amongst many other greats. The fast paced Jeff Tain Watts' "The Impaler" is full of energy. Brecker and Calderazzo are totally shredding it!

Roy Hargrove “Never Let Me Go” With The Tenor of Our Time

Roy Hargrove has always been an inspiration. His combination of sound, tasteful phrases and rhythm inventions in ballads are mesmerizing. I recorded "Never Let Me Go" on my first album. I tried to use Hargrove's approach.

Toots Thielemans  Only Trust Your Heart“ Speak No Evil”

This is the album that inspired and persuaded me to indulge in playing the Chromatic Harmonica. I transcribed a few of Thielemans' solos including "Speak No Evil." I find this track to be beautifully backed by Fred Hersch, Harvie S. and Joey Baron.

Lester Young “She’s Funny That Way”

I once had an assignment to learn Young's saxophone piece in "She's Funny That Way" while studying under Lee Konitz. It seems as if Young is singing through his horn.

Mark Turner Ballad Session “Nefertiti”

A masterpiece. Both Rosenwinkel and Turner's solos are out of this world!

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