Dmitry Zhoukov together with Ivan Donchenko and special thanks for Murielle Morchain

Many, many thanks to Dmitry Zhoukov for providing me this interview!

Question: Hello, dear Jean-Jacques! With what feelings you going to make Russian tour? Was you in Russia before?

Jean-Jacques Justafre: It's a very big pleasure for me to come and to play in your so music-loving country ! During all these years, I came as solo horn of the PM Grand orchestra. I'm now conductor with this show "Tribute to Paul Mauriat" and it's a lot of with enthusiasm and pride for me. I'm happy to pursue this beautiful love story between Russian people and music of the great Paul Mauriat. I came with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France in which I am horn soloist since 1976, 2 years ago to St Petersburg to the « International festival of orchestras » and also in the beginning of the 70s with other bands. I also was in Russia with the Grand Orchestra of Paul Mauriat in 2002 (Moscow and St Petersburg) as horn soloist.

Question: In our era of synthesizers your grand orchestra looks like the dinosaur. Thanks to you Paul Mauriat grand orchestra has got the second live. Now it named Jean-Jacques Justafre grand orchestra. Why?

JJJ: Mrs Irene Mauriat didn't wish that the orchestra continues under this name. For her, the « Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra » stopped because of Paul's death in 2006. It's Mrs Mauriat who suggested me to call the new orchestra « Jean-Jacques Justafre ». Things thus divided up naturally: Mrs Mauriat manages the rights and the recordings of her husband, and my team and myself let us manage the orchestra and the concerts. Even for the tour "Memorial on 2009" in Japan, Mrs Mauriat didn't wish that we go under the name of "Paul Mauriat Grand orchestra". I think that the fans will indeed understand.

Question: Paul has invited you as guest musician for Japanese tours of own orchestra. Can you tell about yourself (where you born, studied music...)

JJJ: I was born in Casablanca (Marocco) and my parents were musicians. My father was a violinist and my mother sang in a choir. Very young (14 years old), I've been accepted in the « Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris » (the greatest French Academy of Music) and during three years I obtained the 1st price for horn, the 1st price of chamber music and the 1st price of music theory. At the end of two years, I already began to play in the Parisian best orchestras and also in the recording studios, for original movies soundtracks, varieties, television etc...

Question: How you met Paul at first time in your life?

JJJ: I met Paul Mauriat in the 70s. He had asked me to participate in recordings of his LP records.

Question: Please tell, how and when you became head Paul Mauriat grand orchestra?

JJJ: In his orchestra , Paul never used horns, only for his records. In 1996, he came to ask me if I sometimes could take a vacation of the Philharmonic orchestra of Radio France, to go with him to Japan during 1 month. I answered him : " if you inform me enough early I can ask for a vacation without salary at the Radio ". It was accepted and I began to go for tours and I asked every time for a vacation ... We were very well both together … and in 2005, he asked me to take the head of the orchestra. I was so happy ! It was like a dream!

Question: What do you say about Paul as about your friend and as professional?

JJJ: Paul was a good and kind man with many strictness in the work. He didn't bear the mediocrity, it was a very big professional. He knew what he wanted and he was very demanding to his musicians. Many people were afraid of him, but he respected them enormously. His generosity also was legendary. It was a big luck to work with him.

Question: When and how born program "Tribute to Paul Mauriat"? Who helps you to make this program?

JJJ: I elaborated this " Tribute to PM " program in 2009 in association with Mr Mike Nakamura (Japan's Tour Manager for the « Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra » since the beginning). With special attention for Japanese Fans wishes.

Question: What songs were selected for your Russian tour if it is not secret ?

JJJ: It is a secret!!! You will discover it later... I think that there will be beautiful surprises and that public Russian will be delighted. We work a lot so that this tour is a success and so that the Russian audience spends a very good moment with us during concerts!

Question: About members of the orchestra. What you may say about musicians whom plays in your orchestra?

JJJ: I could speak to you about them during many hours !!! Most of the musicians of my grand orchestra were in the Paul Mauriat gtand orchestra... For example :
Bernard Arcadio, pianist of the orchestra, one of oldest musicians of the "P.Mauriat Orchestra", close co-worker of paul, big sensibility doubled by a big kindness...
Philippe Chayeb, he's a great bassist (like that Sébastien Chabal is for the French rugby !), he combines talent and punch, ardor and a big spontaneity. He also in the PM G.Orchestra since many years. Another great musician : Patrick Artéro. He has a nickname in the orchestra « Pénélope » in reference to Paul's title because it's Patrick who makes the solo at the beginning of this title. Paul liked very much him and it was mutual.
Claude Egéa (trumpet): a great talent, an exceptional musicality, I have an admiration and a respect for him, shared by Michel Legrand, the great French composer.
Denis Leloup: very big trombonist and international fame. He was soloist of the Memorial tour in 2009, it's also the 1st solo trombone of the Michel Legrand's Orchestra.
Tony Amouroux, 1st trumpet and Dominique Rieux will be absent for this tour (but they will on the next China tour), and they regret not to be able to be there. They form with Michel Delakian and Patrick Artéro, « four musketeers » (Mousquetaires) of the orchestra.
Next time I shall speak to you about Christophe Guiot (soloist in the Opera deParis), J.C. Tcheurekdjian, Hervé Cavelier, Serge Munuera, Amaury Filliard, (wonderful guitarist),... I could speak about every musician, they have so much talent and we have in common the love and the respect for the music of Paul Mauriat.

Question: I think a target of program in memory of Paul Mauriat will effectively attract audience's attention to legend of genre who was Paul and so beautiful story of grand orchestra will continue. Question to attention of managers of recording companies: will J.J. Justafre Grand Orchestra organize new recordings sessions?

JJJ: We recorded a double CD during the last Tour in Japan (2009). I hope that there will be new recordings, as soon as possible, I am going to work on it!