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Airelle Besson is one of France's most celebrated modern-day jazz musicians, earning accolades for her work as a bandleader, sidewoman, duet partner, and arranger. Born in Paris on March 23, 1979, she studied classical music before making the transition to jazz, mastering the trumpet and violin while still a child. After training with icons like François Jeanneau during her time at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, she formed the Rockingchair Quintet in 2002. The instrumental ensemble won the La Défense Jazz Festival competition one year later. Although Besson collaborated with artists like Jeanne Balibar, Sarah Murcia, and Alban Darche throughout the decade's remaining years, she also remained busy with the Rockingchair Quintet, whose debut album, Premier, was released in 2007. The following year, Besson won the Djangodor award for "Best New Talent." Following the 2011 release of Rockingchair Quintet's second album, 1:1, Besson signed with Naïve Records and recorded 2014's Prélude, an album of duets with Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. The album was a critical success, earning Besson the prestigious Django-Reinhardt Prize for "Musician of the Year" from the Jazz Academy in 2015. From there, her solo career flourished with albums like 2016's Radio One, 2017's Aïrés, and 2020's Try!, all of which showcased the range of her abilities as a multi-instrumentalist.
© ©Copyright Music Story Andrew Leahey 2021
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