Though not very well remembered these days, Jack Diéval was one of the leading figures in French jazz between the 1940s and the 1960s, not just as a pianist but also as a radio and television host. Known for his elegant piano style and for his uncanny ability to accompany just about anyone, Diéval was nicknamed "the Debussy of jazz" and throughout his career, he worked wholeheartedly to promote jazz in France in any way imaginable. Born in Douai in 1920, the young Diéval studied piano and soon became fascinated with jazz, making a name for himself at first primarily as an accompanist, working with tenor saxophonist Alix Combelle and with the vocalist Henri Salvador. In 1947 Diéval was named the best pianist in the country by the prestigious French magazine Jazz-Hot, and then his career really took off: he began to record steadily and even collaborated on some songs with the poet Boris Vian. One of the tunes they wrote together, "C'est Le Be Bop," would in time be successfully recorded by Salvador.
|A young Sacha Distel|
Here is a very interesting video in French from the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel of Jack Diéval sitting at the piano and reminiscing about his life and career
|Saxophonist Guy Lafitte in the early 1980s|