Created in 2010, The Amazing Keystone Big Band combines both the essence and the spirit of the great bands of the era of swing with the inventiveness, open mindedness and impertinent virtuosity of today’s jazz. In 2018, it won the Victoire du Jazz for best band of the year.
Friends and partners since music school, pianist Fred Nardin, saxophonist Jon Boutellier, trombonist Bastien Ballaz and trumpet player David Enhco are the four leaders and artistic directors of the Big Band.
Hailing from Paris, Lyon and Brussels, the 17 first-class musicians of this restless jazz machine not only content themselves with paying tribute to Count Basie, Duke Ellington, or Thad Jones… they believe that Keystone allows them to experiment with new ideas and to rethink and reinterpret this vast and timeless repertoire. The Amazing Keystone Big Band seeks to keep the spirit of this music alive but also expresses its creativity through its own arrangements, compositions and improvisations.
Since 2010, the band has had the opportunity to work, play and write music for world famous artists such as Quincy Jones, Didier Lockwood, Gregory Porter, Stochelo Rosenberg, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Rhoda Scott, Liz McComb, James Carter, ZAZ, Thomas Dutronc, Madeleine Peyroux, etc.
Passionate about creating jazz adaptations of children’s classical masterpieces, The Amazing Keystone Big Band’s dizzying and virtuosic transformations of Prokofiev’s « Peter and the Wolf » and Saint-Saëns’ « Carnaval of the Animals » have been enjoyed by more than 400,000 children since 2013, and were released both on CD and in fully illustrated audio book versions by the major French publishing house Gautier-Languereau (Hachette Livre) to the unanimous delight of the critics.
In 2017 they ventured into new territory with the original story « Mr Django and Lady Swing », a musical journey for children into the world of gypsy jazz and swing star Django Reinhardt.
Keystone’s busy concert schedule regularly takes them to the most beautiful French theaters and concert halls and onto the most prestigious stages such as the Jazz in Vienne Festival, Jazz in Marciac, the Opera houses in Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Caen, Lille, the Champs-Élysées Theatre, Salle Pleyel and Olympia Hall in Paris.
Artistic directors: Fred Nardin, Jon Boutellier, Bastien Ballaz and David Enhco.
The members of Keystone are among the busiest and most exciting talents of the young French jazz scene of today :
- Saxophonists/Flute: Pierre Dessasis, Kenny Jeanney, Jon Boutellier, Eric Prost and Ghyslain Regard
- Trumpet players: Vincent Labarre, Thierry Senau, Félicien Bouchot and David Enhco
- Trombonists: Bastien Ballaz, Alois Benoit, Loic Bachevillier and Sylvain Thomas
- Rhythm section: Fred Nardin (piano), Thibaut François (guitar), Patrick Maradan (double bass) and Romain Sarron (drums).
- Actor : Sébastien Denigues
- Singers : Neima Naouri, Pablo Campos