One of the few producers to pursue a real fusion of jazz and house music, Frenchman Ludovic Navarre began recording in the early '90s using various aliases (Subsystem, Modus Vivendi, Deepside) for a range of French imprints. St. Germain debuted in 1994 for Laurent Garnier's F Communications label and Navarre released his first album, Boulevard, in 1996. Featuring trumpeter Pascal Ohse, the album worked as a hybrid of American R&B and jazz with the growing French house scene exemplified by Garnier, La Funk Mob, and Dimitri from Paris. Tourist, issued at the turn of the century by Blue Note, took the concept further, with Navarre working post-production on a fuller complement of musicians. Navarre has also remixed such varying artists as Björk, Pierre Henry, and the Suburban Knight.
As St. Germain he signed with Nonesuch in early 2015. In May he announced a self-titled offering — his first album of new material in 15 years. Inspired by his longtime love of Malian music, the album was recorded in Navarre's Paris studio. His stable of studio musicians included Brazilian percussionist Jorge Bezerra, Malian kora player Mamadou Cherif Soumano, Malian guitarist and n'goni player Guimba Kouyate, and longtime associate Martiniquais keyboardist Didier Davidas. St. Germain's pre-release single "Real Blues" was issued in May, while the album was released that October. ~ John Bush