- From left to right: Yvonnick Prene, Peter Bernstein, Brian Charette, and Allan Mednard.
French Jazz Series is a program of virtual concerts presented live on Facebook featuring world-class French and American jazz musicians at the legendary New York City venue, Smalls Jazz Club.
Discover the full program here.
Yvonnick Prene was born in Paris, France, and began as a guitarist, later switching to the diatonic harmonica, and eventually settling on the chromatic harmonica as his primary instrument. He first began playing the harmonica professionally in Parisian clubs at 17, then started his studies at Sorbonne University, from which he received a master’s degree in music (2011). While still enrolled at the Sorbonne, Prené relocated to New York City and was awarded multiple full-tuition scholarships at The City College of New York, (MICEFA, 2007), Columbia University (Alliance Program, 2008), and at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (Merit-Based Scholarship, 2009) where he had the opportunity to study with Lee Konitz and Reggie Workman among others. He has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Donald Brown, Klingande, Romeo Santos, Peter Bernstein, Scott Tixier, Gene Bertoncini, Rich Perry, Steve Cardenas, Jon Cowherd, Vic Juris, Nate Smith, and Ira Coleman. Yvonnick is the founder of New York Harmonica School, the first harmonica school in NYC.
Born September 3rd, 1967 in New York City, guitarist Peter Bernstein has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. Throughout his career, he has participated in over 60 recordings and numerous festivals, concerts, and club performances with musicians from all generations. As an album leader, Peter has made five recordings for the Criss Cross Jazz label. The latest, Heart’s Content, features the all-star rhythm section of Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Bill Stewart. In 1989 Peter was discovered by alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and took part in the first of four recordings with him. He was a regular member of his group throughout the 1990s. Peter has also played with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb (Cobb’s Mob), organist Larry Goldings, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Rhyne, drummer Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Nicholas Payton, Lee Konitz, Tom Harrell, and Eric Alexander and performed in North America, Europe, and Asia, all while making numerous television appearances. Peter has taught at the Julliard School, Berklee College of Music, North Texas State University, the New School Jazz Program, and the Jazz Conservatory in Amsterdam. He has been recognized in both the readers’ and critics’ polls in Downbeat Magazine for the past three years. He continues to hone his style through writing and performing and has developed a distinctive and unforgettable guitar voice that is all his own.
New York City organist/pianist Brian Charette has established himself as a leading voice in modern jazz. Charette is a Grammy-nominated, Hammond-endorsed artist who was just named the winner of the 2014 Downbeat Critics Poll in the "Rising Star: Organ" category. On his newest recording, Good Tipper, (Posi-Tone, 2014), Charette presents elegantly lyrical original music and fun, funky covers with a great trio featuring Will Bernard on guitar and Rudy Royston on drums. After graduating on the Dean’s List from UConn in 1994 with a BA in Classical Piano Performance, Charette began touring Europe and was drawn to the culture and scene of Prague, Czech Republic, where he now lives half the time. Brian teaches masterclasses all over the world and is on the faculty of the Czech Summer Jazz Workshop at Jezek Conservatory in Prague.
Drummer Allan Mednard was born and raised in Queens, New York. His early musical experiences involved New York City’s All-City High School Music program, Bayside High School’s Academy of Music, and Queens College’s Center for Preparatory Studies in Music program. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in jazz performance from the City College of New York. While attending the City College of New York he studied with Carl Allen. He has performed around the globe with ensembles led by Jeremy Pelt, Ben Allison, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks, Alix Ambroise, Le Boeuf Brothers, and many more.
May 12, 2021