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Interview: Laurent Coq & Walter Smith III

Laurent Coq and Walter Smith III have been supported by the French-American Jazz Exchange (FAJE) in 2015.

Read more about their feedback, their collaboration and the creation of their album.

Name of band or ensemble: Laurent Coq & Walter Smith III
Names of collaborators: Laurent Coq, Walter Smith III, Joe Sanders, Damion Reid
Name of interviewee: Laurent Coq

Name of album: The Lafayette Suite
Year of release: 2015

FAJE: How did you meet?

Laurent Coq (L.C.): We met through some common musician friends. Actually, Damion Reid was probably the first one to connect us. He plays drums in the album.

FAJE: What brought you to collaborate? 

L.C.: We talked about doing something together for years. I was always been impressed by Walter’s music and playing, and his strong impact on the projects he was involved in. As a result, I’ve been looking for an idea to work together for many years. 

FAJE: How are your musical styles similar? How do your musical styles differ or complement each other ?

L.C.: I think he has a very unique musical vision, and that’s what I like about him. He has his own sound and his playing cannot be mistaken with anyone else’s. Yet, his music sounds very familiar to my ears for some reason, and I’ve always thought it would be great to write for him. 

FAJE: How does French-American cultural exchange come to play in your work?  

L.C.: We chose Marquis de Lafayette and his young American years, alongside insurgents, as our main theme for the album. You won’t find a historic figure who better symbolizes the French-American ties. We chose specific places, events and characters that represent his commitment to the war of Independence. Each of us wrote half of the repertoire according to these themes, in a chronological order. Then, we assembled the tunes together as a suite that never stops. One tune from me, one from Walter, etc.

FAJE: What impact did FAJE have on your album/tour ?

L.C.: Thanks to this great program, we have been able to work thoroughly, from the historical research, the writing process and the rehearsals. It took more than a year before we were able to record in a studio. Thanks to this program, we were able to tour both in Europe and in the U.S. It definitively has been a wonderful experience and we both feel very grateful to have had this opportunity.

Discover more about this album here or here

If you want to listen an excerpt from this album, please click here or here