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St. Germain

The influence of this groundbreaking pioneer of the "French touch" can be heard today in the work of artists like Daft Punk, Dimitri From Paris, and Air. Embraced across his native Europe for many years, St. Germain (aka Ludovic Navarre) released his U.S. debut, Tourist, in 2000, drawing a very positive response and selling over 200,000 copies stateside. In 2001, Navarre's well-known DJing skills and oustanding orchestral lineup earned St. Germain the "Best Live Show of the Year" award from URB Magazine. Currently signed to Blue Note, Navarre released 12-inches earlier in his career for Laurent Garnier's F Communications imprint which remain sought after by jazz and house heads alike. In short, Navarre's style of mixing sexy French sophistication and organic jazz-inflected house grooves has quickly made him an essential part of the deep house family tree.

Originally released overseas in 1995, St. Germain's album Boulevard was one of the first to explore house's more organic roots. Since its release, Boulevard has sold 300,000 copies worldwide, serving as a cornerstone for legions of artists and producers who followed it. Still regarded as a dance music landmark, Boulevard's wonderful package of cool jazz, dance, and chilled-out dub all tied up in a tight pretty bow has only gotten better over time. Arguably one of the first LPs to blur the line between house and jazz, the album proved that the four-on-the-floor beat could appeal to the mind as well as to the body. Boulevard's live instrumentation adds a warm organic touch often lacking on modern dance records. Accomplished musicians like trumpet player Paschal Ohse fit well within Navarre's groove-basking production style.

Included on the 2002 PIAS expanded re-release of Boulevard are two tracks from the 1999 F-Com recording From Detroit to St. Germain including St. Germain's rare early hit "Alabama Blues," an addition which makes this release a definite must-have. Other tracks like "Street Scene" demonstrate the lineage of dance music's meditative polyrhythms from early jazz experimentation. St. Germain knows just the proper formula of breaks and grooves to give the listener an entertaining history lesson of house, jazz, soul and the subtle cosmic connections shared by all three.

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