French trumpeter, composer, and beatmaker Béesau wants you to become a jazz fan


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French trumpeter, composer, and beatmaker Béesau wants you to become a jazz fan

After years studying jazz at a conservatory in France, French trumpeter, composer, and beatmaker Remy Béesau became enamored with the style’s greats, from Roy Hargrove to Big L. Yet his greatest contribution to the genre hasn’t been through replicating what’s already been done, it’s been by creating something new. Fusing France’s robust electronic scene with his penchant for rap and the fundamentals he learned as a child, Béesau’s jazz is a melting pot of rich musical identities.

In line with his performance of ‘retrouver l’aube’ for his debut A COLORS SHOW, we spoke to Béesau about his love for ‘90s rap, jazz clichés, and the importance of grandmothers.

What is your first musical memory?

When I was seven, my mom wanted me to make music and study at the nearby music conservatory. At first, I wanted to play the drums, but the teacher seemed really angry at his students—I was quite scared of him. I started to study the trumpet because I liked the teacher more than the drum teacher.

You’re a producer as well as a musician. How does your production differ from what you’re doing on the trumpet? You could say that in both cases you’re working with instruments,  just very different ones.

I started to compose and produce on the computer when I was 14-years-old. In the beginning, I used BeatMaker to produce beats for rappers in the small town of La Rochelle in France. When I moved to Paris, I didn’t know any rappers there. I still produced beats, but didn’t have anyone to rap on them, so I started to play my trumpet over them instead.

In France, people think of the trumpet as an old instrument. I want the next generation of musicians and music lovers to say that the trumpet is cool and young.

How did you find a connection between jazz and rap?

I quit playing trumpet for four years, and started to produce and dig deeper into rap music. I was a really big fan of Big L and lots of other East Coast rappers and producers from the ‘90s. I started to listen to what they were sampling—most of the time it was jazz music. I started to play the trumpet again because of the jazz I discovered in rap music. Rap and jazz have evolved a lot over the years, and inspired a lot of musical developments. I like to mix between the two styles. To me, they’re not so different.

You said in an interview that you’re influenced by Roy Hargrove because of how pure his jazz is. By combining jazz with other styles, you’re doing the opposite. How did you take what he was doing and build upon it?

Roy is one of the best jazz trumpeters I have ever heard. I know I will never play like him. I don’t have the jazz culture that he had. The jazz culture in France is different. I don’t want to copy what the Americans are doing. I want to create my own style of jazz and invent a new style.

“In France, people think of the trumpet as an old instrument…”

“…I want the next generation of musicians and music lovers to say that the trumpet is cool and young.”

You include your grandmother a lot in your recording process. How has she influenced your music? 

My grandmother influences my composition and music just through her joy of being alive. She’s 98-years-old and still really peppy. I’m on vacation at her house with a lot of musician friends of mine at the moment. She’s always with us when we’re playing or singing. It’s amazing to see her like this at her age.

Your project ‘Coco Charnelle’ is split into two albums that came out in 2021 and 2022. How did you know that you had enough material to make two standalone projects?

I had way too many tracks—around 35 tracks! I realized I had to split the project, because you have to really like trumpets to listen to 35 tracks of them. I wanted ‘Part 1’ to be easy listening for people who don’t really know jazz. It has more happy, rat pack style songs, whereas ‘Part 2’ consists of more constructive jazz.

How would you encourage listeners who want to get into jazz, but might not know where to start?

The word jazz can sound a bit cliché. The most important thing is to stay curious all the time. Try not to think about it like: “This kind of jazz isn’t cool,” or “This isn’t real jazz.” If you find something you enjoy, just feel it. That said, some jazz is very complicated. Like good wine, you have to study it.

“The cliché is that jazz is dead, that’s not true.”

Béesau's trumpet button covers

What exactly do you think the cliché is?

I don’t know if it’s the same in the US or in London, but the French cliché is that jazzmen are pretentious. It’s the idea that: “We are making the ‘real’ music, and no one else understands what we’re doing.” The other cliché is that jazz is dead. That’s not true.

Are those clichés something you think about when you’re composing?

I don’t think so. I compose music that I want to hear. When people discover me at shows, they always say: “I don’t really like jazz, but seeing you on stage is not the idea I had of jazz.”

Béesau is a French trumpeter, composer, and beatmaker whose debut A COLORS SHOW dropped on 11th September 2023. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Kristin Corry
Photography: Megan Courtis
Videography: Kai Chase-Meares
Video Editing: Katia Fisenko


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