At the age of eighty-two, the trumpeter, who has been intersecting with Occitania since the end of the seventies, bid farewell to the big stage on August 13 in Bouisieron, where he made his singing debut in 1977. He did not give up much to music, but she would focus on more intimate appearances. A few hours before turning the page, he looks back on a long career he spent alongside the stars, Johnny Hallyday, Jimi Hendrix, Daisy Gillespie…his passion for Camargue, sponsors and puffins, time for superhero and new superb productions. On the eve of the year 2000 people. memories memories.
It will give August 13 at Boisseron, in Hérault, a date that has been announced as the first farewell tour. That’s right, did you stop the scene?
It’s not like… It’s going to be the first farewell round that suggests there will be others. Phil Collins is on his ninth farewell tour, and he just announced that he’s already quit. I’m fine, I’m taking this opportunity to tell those who are concerned that at 82, I’m doing fine. I’ve received hundreds of messages on Facebook from people who don’t want me to quit!
Not tired despite your very long career?
I am always happy to please those who come to listen and see me. The scene will keep me going until the end. A little like the others. I’ll tell you a tale: trumpeter Maurice Andre wanted to record with me, so Michel Legrand even made us two titles. We were supposed to hit a record after he had his teeth fixed, and he’s no longer able to play. He died a few months later. Playing is my life. I’ve known and played with a lot of artists, that’s for sure. But the desire to play and do good to those who come to listen to me remains.
Every time like the first time?
The first few times I was nervous. I haven’t had it in a long time. I do what I feel like, it’s a pleasure to be on stage! In Boisseron, on August 13, it will be a chance to meet the trumpeter who was with me on the zouaves, a great band created during my military service in Algeria. He’ll be there with all the veterans and his trumpet, and there’ll be the ex-mayor of Pont-Saint-Esprit… We’ll play a few pieces of paso-doble, this is a must!
Poisieron, is that clear?
Yes, because it was this small village that first brought me to the region forty years ago. There were also Mauguio and Pérols, but above all, Boisseron who took a big risk to bring in a big orchestra, and that lasted for years. There is a love story that has been linked to the youth of Boisseron and the population, where every time people stand and applaud me for long minutes, they kiss me… It’s a lot, a lot of feelings. But I’m making other dates in the area: August 20, he’ll be in Barjac, for a jazz concert. I also go to Dordogne, Aveyron, Auxerre …
“I live in Grenoble, but something happened in the Camargue”
We might think you’re from the area while you live in Grenoble…
Yes, I live in Grenoble but I was born in Vaucluse, on the island of Sur-la-Sorge. Something happened in Camargue when I first came. A side of love, I wandered in flocks, stirred up meals, and the great jugglers became my friends: Patrick Castro, Jackie Simeone … Spanish bullfights.
Are you as happy there as you could have been in a career that has you rubbing shoulders with the biggest stars?
Not the same thing. At the Camargue, it’s the heart. I, when speaking of the Camargue, give me goosebumps, the Camargue has adopted me especially since I wrote beautiful pages with the bullfighting clubs of Maugeo and Perolles, Georges Frisch, the former mayor of Montpellier, made me celebrate the great festivities of July 14th at the Place de la Comédie with 30,000, 40,000 Person, wonderful New Year’s Eve 2000… With Covid, and buying power waning, it’s not like it was before.
“Johnny Hallyday had a big heart”
The Sixties, Is It Still In You?
Yes, of course. I occupied my shoulders with the world’s greatest guitarists, Jimmy Page (editor’s note: founder of the Led Zeppelin group) and Jimi Hendrix, with whom I’ve toured. At that time, Johnny also asked me to be his right hand and I was arranging the orchestra on stage, it’s very different from arranging in the studio. Eddie Vartan, who hired me, asked me to “do a brassy voice,” which I did for three years, from 1965 to 1968.
From Halliday to Poisserone festivities
Gilles Pellegrini was born on the island of Sur Sorge in a family of Italian immigrants, and entered the conservatory in Grenoble where he learned the clarinet, on the one hand he is, on the other hand, a self-trumpeter, his favorite instrument. Jazz attracted him very quickly, and he played with the greatest, Daisy Gillespie, Bill Coleman, Stefan Grabelli … From 1965 to 1968, he was rehearsals, conductor and trumpeter for Johnny Hallyday, and was also at that time touring with Jimi Hendrix, before creating A large orchestra gathers thousands of people on each of its dates. With several appointments in the south of France: still a resident of Grenoble, he remains an unconditional lover of the Camargue and a great believer of the village of Boisseron, where he first sang in 1977.
Did you have a personal relationship with Johnny Hallyday or just a professional one?
I had a personal relationship with him. It was a bit noisy, especially when we had two or three drinks. I’m a former boxer, one day, I showed some of them… Then, we went out together in the clubs, with Jimi Hendrix too, after the festivities. What were the two doing to each other? Jimi Hendrix was blowing smoke rings. For hours I was watching smoke ring competitions between Jimi Hendrix and Johnny and then the people who joined them! The two were brought back to the hotel. Taking drugs away Jimi Hendrix. He was nice, he made an effort to speak French…how good we were.
And Johnny Hallyday?
When I told him in 1968, on my return from a tour, in a club in Paris, of François Patrice (Editorial Board: Le Club Saint-Hilaire) that I would leave him to establish my own orchestra, he put me at the table. Blank check. I had decades already, but we saw each other a few times after that. He had a big heart, but was not very happy that his father, whom I met in Brussels, at the entrance to a concert, abandoned him. He wants to go home. Johnny didn’t want to see him, and he asked me to give him $3000, which was francs at the time. He never had any money, I made the advance which he never returned. We laughed at her after thirty years. One more thing: I remember Johnny’s party to the abused children at the Palais de Chaillot, with the Beatles in the front row, and backstage congratulating me on arranging the musicians’ dance steps in Hendrix’s “Hey Joe”, which Johnny had taken…
And again, I tell you this right away, in François Patrice again, I remember a massive jam at the end of the tour, with Jimi Hendrix, who played blues like no one else, Brian Auger, super jazz bassist, singer Julie Driscoll, Gérard Pisani, who He founded Circus Martin then … In the first row, there was Claude François who did not miss a beat, offered to take charge of an orchestra. I told him, a text message: “Listen Claude, I know how you treat your staff, you disrespect the musicians, girls, I’ll never take it.”
You can write your diary…