French Pianist and Bandleader Denis Badault has Died, Aged 65
A pianist, conductor, and composer, Badault taught at the Toulouse Conservatory and worked extensively in the field of jazz and improvised music
Born in 1958 in Versailles, Denis Badault studied classical music at the Paris Conservatory and also attended the Boulogne-Billancourt Conservatory.
Soon after winning the Soloist Prize at La Défense’s National Jazz Competition in 1979, he participated in London’s Youth Jazz Orchestra in 1981 and formed the 13-piece Bande à Badault the following year, which garnered him critical acclaim in the jazz music scene.
In the 1980s, Badault served as a pianist in the National Jazz Orchestra, of which he became the artistic director from 1991 to 1994. With them, he released albums on Label Bleu, plus recorded individually for Flat & Sharp, Blue Line Productions, Label Bleu, Yolk, Abalone Productions, Les Productions Du Vendredi, and Le Passage.
Serving as the president of the Union of Jazz Musicians from 1994 to 1996, Badault also led ensembles including the Bado trio, the Three Keyboards, and the H3B quartet as a pianist.
As an educator, he worked on developing pedagogical programs at the Toulouse Conservatory and held classes on free improvisation, collective play, and interpretation. His accolades included the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, awarded by the French Minister of Culture.
“We met Denis 30 years ago,” began Philippe Metz, Badault’s friend and director of the Music’Halle school. “Among the many shared memories…and all the courses given each season at Music'Halle around his conception of improvisation, Denis made history in the teaching of jazz and improvised music like no other.”
Our condolences to Mr. Badault’s family, friends, students, and colleagues.
A concert with Badault leading the National Jazz Orchestra in the 2021/22 season can be viewed below.