Jazz at the Bechtler: Frédéric Yonnet

Jazz at the Bechtler: Frédéric Yonnet




*Both shows are sold out. There will be no walkup tickets available at the door.*

When you think of traditional jazz instruments, the harmonica rarely comes to mind. That's why if you're producing a jazz concert featuring the harmonica, you absolutely need the right performer, and the March edition of Jazz at the Bechtler has just the right guy. Get your tickets now to Jazz at the Bechtler: The Harmonica in Jazz featuring Frédéric Yonnet.

Born in France, a young Frédéric Yonnet got his start on the drum kit at the age of 14, but quickly went back to the harmonica, an instrument he received as a child. "I got kicked out of bands because I kept trying to play the melody on the drums," says Yonnet. "On the harmonica, I can play both the melody and the rhythm. Plus it's lighter to carry." In 2001 he moved from France to Washington, DC to perform in festivals and clubs where he developed the reputation of being a "genre-bending" harmonica player.

Yonnet gained national recognition in 2006 when comedian Dave Chappelle invited him as a guest star during Chappelle's 10-city Block Party concert tour. During that year's Grammys, Chappelle introduced Yonnet to another harmonica luminary: Stevie Wonder. Yonnet and Wonder have since performed together on numerous occasions, always teasing the crowd with a competitive rendition of Wonder's "Boogie On Reggae Woman". Yonnet admits that working with Wonder has been his biggest musical inspiration. It was during a concert with Wonder at New York's Madison Square Garden when Prince first saw Yonnet perform, and several months later, Yonnet was invited to record and ultimately tour with Prince. 

Ever since then, Yonnet has been a prolific and popular performer. He has recently appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as having played at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Yonnet also played the Jazz at the Bechtler series in November 2016 to rave reviews. Yonnet has overcome the limitation of the seven note “diatonic” blues harmonica to play all twelve notes from the chromatic scale on a seven note instrument. This amazing technique allows Yonnet to retain the bending emotion of a blues harp and access the full chromatic scale. 


Concerts are performed at 6 and 8:15 p.m. with no intermissions. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. concert and 7:45 p.m. for the 8:15 p.m. concert. General seating is first come, first served. Enjoy light bites and a cash-only bar. Standing room only is available after all seats are claimed. 

View the setlist from the show here.


*Both shows are sold out. There will be no walkup tickets available at the door.View the full 2017-'18 Jazz at the Bechtler lineup here.

Watch Frédéric Yonnet perform with Ed Sheeran below.

Individual sponsors for this show include:

- Cindy Barnes
- Jim and Bonnie Blair
- Hilary Coman and Mike Cushinsky
- Heidemarie and Oscar Groomes
- Martha Harbison
- Tina and Edward Maynard
- Marian Nisbet
- James E. Rogers
- Kurt G. Waldthausen
- Tracey and Tom Gillespie

Image: Frédéric Yonnet. Courtesy fredyonnet.com

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