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Paco Sery
Paco Sery
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Independent
  • Country: France

Paco Sery was born in 1956 in Ivory Coast in a large family of 18 children. At the age of 6, « Emma » (his little name) used to drum on almost everything he came across to. At 9, slapped in the face by his father after letting him known about his musical ambitions, Paco runned off from home and took the name of « Paco Solo ». He was now free and working as drummer in Dabou. In his teens, he settled in Abidjan, played along with the local pioneers of modern music (Ernesto Djédjé, Amédée Pierre, Lougah François) and became the in-house drummer of La Canne à Sucre, the "in" place of « Treichville », the red-light district down town to which he dedicated his first composition with Sixun. That's where the organ player Eddy Louiss heard Paco for the first time and got so impressed that he invited him to play along with him in France. Paco settled in Paris in 1979 at the age of 23. His reputation on the Paris scene grew fast, especially at the Jazz Club Le Sunset that became his hang-out place. He met there many American jazz musicians stopping by while on tour. Among them, Monty Alexander who invited Paco to tour with him. Back to the US, Monty Alexander recommended Paco Sery to Jaco Pastorius who then met him in Paris in 1985. They jammed together at The Sunset with Kenny Kirkland. Jaco Pastorius was so impressed that he asked Paco the legendary question « From which planet are you from, man ? », meaning he had never seen someone drumming this way before. From there, Paco Sery and Jaco Pastorius played and toured together for almost two years. At the same time, Paco Sery set up the legendary band Sixun that will soon become the flagship band of jazz - world - funk fusion, a French equivalent of Weather Report : same type of instrumentation, same balance between acoustic and electronic instruments, same ideal of mastered virtuosity and even more, the same imperious desire to open jazz music to the other musical genres. Paco set up Sixun with well-known Paris based musicians Louis Winsberg, Jean-Pierre Como, Alain Debiossat, Michel Alibo and Stéphane Edouard. At the same time he focussed on Sixun, Paco Sery collaborated wih some other famous musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Charlelie Couture, Manu Dibango, Jacques Higelin, Claude Nougaro, Mike Stern, Orchestre National de Barbès, etc. But Joe Zawinul (ex-Weather Report) is his most lasting and decisive collaboration. Paco Sery met Joe Zawinul during the recording of a Salif Keita album that Joe was producing. For Joe Zawinul, Paco Sery is clearly « the best drummer in the world ». He invited Paco to join his Zawinul Syndicate in 1996. One year later, they recorded the album « My People » that was nomminated « Best World Music Album » at the Grammy Awards. Within the Syndicate, Paco Sery has been the fellow traveler of Joe Zawinul for 9 years, during which he has intensely toured around the world until his last tour in 2007, just before he passed away. During that period, after 15 years of activity, the band Sixun is put on hold, its members focusing on their respective projects. In 2000, it was time for Paco to get down to his first personal album - « Voyages » - that was released on Blue Note / EMI, with some prestigious guests: Manu Dibango, Dianne Reeves, Claude Nougaro or the Orchestre National de Barbès. Looked at as a champion of fusion music for years, Paco Sery created a surprise with an album of a more « poppy » flavour, demonstrating he doesn't belong to any set category and that his love for music covers altogether rock, funk, disco, hiphop and African music. In 2005, Sixun started up again to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a concert at La Cigale from which a DVD and a live album were made. From there, Paco Sery has now come back to work with Sixun whose its ninth album- « Palabres », was released in 2008. Paco Sery is now working on his second personal album due to be released early 2010 with new performances to come.

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