Jarre has had lots of skilled people working around him. They are either technicians, tour musicians or guests on his albums.
Michel Geiss (engineer)
Before Jarre started Oxygène, he met Michel Geiss who was demonstrating the possibilities of early synthesizers such as the ARP 2600, that were pretty much unknown in the world of pop music. Jarre asked Geiss if he would be interested into a collaboration, and the fellow frenchman accepted it later on, as jarre had done the first half of Oxygène (at that time, Jarre was reknown for his lyrics for the singer Christophe). And that’s how Jarre was taught the heart of these extarordinary machines, leading to wonderful electronica like Oxygène, part 4, for example. For Equinoxe, Michel Geiss was responsible for the Matrisequencer, an advanced sequencer that gave Jarre a real sound difference versus Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. He enhanced the device with a similar concept instrument called the Digisequencer, wich was used on the Chronologie album. Michel Geiss got on stage for the biggest concerts from Jarre, but he could quite aswell stay in the mixing booth, because he is a very discreet man, and one of the most respected in the world of electronics. It was a full time job ! Michel Geiss ended collaboration with Jarre in the late nineties to work with other french pop musicians. See all posts on Michel Geiss.
Dominique Perrier (stage and studio keyboardist)
When Jarre wrote “Les Mots Bleus” for Christophe, Jarre got into sympathy for his versatile pianist (even though Christophe played a bit of synth himself), Dominique Perrier. They kept in touch, and after Oxygène was released, Perrier produced prog-rock oriented keyboard on ARP in a duo with close-friend drummer Roger Rizziteli called Space Art. Later on, Jarre hired the two of them for touring in China, alongside Frédérick Rousseau. Perrier was featured on a high basis in Jarre’s main concerts and albums (he was used as a solo extravangaza), until the date of 1997, missing very few of them. Through the nineties, Perrier has been working on a celtic project called Stone Age. He was back in 2007 when Jean Michel recorded the original Oxygène in stage conditions and still is to this date. See all posts on Dominique Perrier.
Francis Rimbert (stage and studio keyboardist)
Francis Rimbert should be on top list of Jarre’s teammates, since he has been Jarre’s most regular contributor, since the Houston concert he’s been part of all of Jarre’s project. Jarre even nicknamed him “his memory”. Rimbert has had very early contact with synths, and was hired in the first music store selling synths in France as a demonstrator. Francis can play in an infinite way of fashions, and he has achieved an unofficial status of “best demonstrator ever” along Roland, his favorite brand (and spent some time along Korg). Some of his works for advertising are interesting testimonials of the 70’s. Apart from Jarre’s album, Rimbert is hooking up a solo career in the shadow of his “boss” (that’s Jarre’s nick) since the mid-2000. See all posts on Francis Rimbert.
Claude Samard (musical director and stage keyboardist)
Claude Samard began working with Jarre in 2003-2004. He is a worldwide specialist of guitar and an expert on world music. He owns dozens of guitars, especially rare ones. This backdrop enables him to make Jean Michel work with orchestras (classical or traditional ones) much more easier. He has been touring with Jean Michel in China, Poland, and all through Europe in his Oxygène 1997 and furthermore In-doors tour. See all posts on Claude Samard.
Frédérick Rousseau (stage and studio keyboardist)
Frédérick Rousseau was involved into french nuclear program until he decided suddenly to drop his scientific carreer for making music. He met Jarre when the synthetic man was preparing his tour in China in 1981, and he was hired for his skills for the sequences he was responsible for during the songs. In 1983 and 1984, Jarre and Rousseau worked very though on the Zoolook album, to the point to be totally exhausted. But the result was valuable enough, and the disc was acclaimed by critics. Rousseau was called back by Jarre who needed lots of people for his gigantic Paris La Défense concert in 1990. Rousseau imagined links between the songs. Later on, Rousseau worked for another great electronic artist, Vangelis, for whom he became musical director. Rousseau keeps some of his time to work on very various projects as a solo project. See all posts on Frederick Rousseau.
To be continued…