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                                                    Jérôme Malaval        
Tassin, France
I did not come from a family of
musicians, and I had no one close
to me who could play an instrument.
I was around 15 years old when I
had my first contact with the guitar.
First, it was a false start: my mother,
who had noticed that I had a good
ear for music and saw that I was
getting good grades in my music
classes, surprised me by enrolling
me in a guitar class in our local
youth center. Unfortunately, it wasn't
much fun and I never looked
forward to going.
One Saturday morning, while doing the family shopping at the super market, my brother
slipped a recording by Marcel Dadi into the cart. I remember it was a compilation called
"Disque d'Or." When I returned home, I immediately put it on the record player and it didn't take
but 30 seconds of listening to understand: If one can play like that on ONE guitar, then I would
be a guitar player myself! I would dedicate my heart and soul to explore the art of fingerpicking.

So, like many people from my generation in France, I had a 'jump start' thanks to Marcel Dadi.
Using the tablature in his LPs, I began to forge ahead with my study of guitar technique. But,
the most important revelation for me, while reading the liner notes of Marcel's recordings, was
to discover the name of Chet Atkins. We were at the end of the 70's and at that time it was easy
to find Chet's albums: I bought one, then five, then ten, then thirty, then every album that could
be found in France. My discovery of Chet Atkins was like a tsunami. His perfect technique,
mastery of sound, continuous creativity, eclecticism, and the width of his musical range
became, and still are, permanent references for me. To work in his style, however, was not
easy because it was impossible to find reliable Chet arrangements in notation or tablature.

I had to transcribe by ear all of the tunes that I loved. In hindsight, although it is a long and
frustrating journey with many questions, it was also a wonderful education and it gave me a
deep appreciation for his playing...

Listening to Chet Atkins, I became aware of the other guitar players with whom he wrote
musical history. The first one was Jerry Reed, a monster player with an exceptional groove
and a huge musical intelligence. He is the greatest composer for the guitar in this century.
Working on Chet and Jerry’s music took years. After working a long time, all by myself in my
room, I decided it was time to go to the place where Chet and Jerry had recorded all these
records that had enchanted me for so many years: Nashville.

I must thank my friend Pierre Danielou for convincing me to go there. It was a bit frightening for
me, a little Frenchman, to pack my bags and go to the capital of ‘Country Music.’ Nevertheless,
I found myself in a new, yet familiar home and this trip was the beginning of many things to

Pierre and I attended the convention of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society that traditionally
takes place in July in a hotel in Nashville. The only problem was that there were an impressive
number of the best guitar players of all styles. So I discovered that there is no better way to
have your musical ego completely flattened!

I saw in succession, Jim Nichols, Tommy Jones, Doyle Dykes  and others, followed by Chet
Atkins, himself. If one has any illusions, this line up will certainly prove that there is still much
more work to do!

It was in that mood that I met Jim Nichols. He was sitting in the hall in the hotel and was
playing a Jerry Reed song, which Chet had recorded called “East Wind.” I had transcribed this
piece myself, but, when I hear Jim play it, I realized he might be able to show me some things
that obviously had slipped by me. So I timidly asked him if he might grant me a quick lesson. I
did not yet know that besides the fact that he is a musical genius, he is a man of immense
generosity. He and his wife, Morning invited me to come to their room so that Jim and I could
work quietly on some music. We played for two hours talking about our passion for the music
of Chet Atkins. Jim and Morning had an appointment with Chet on the following day. I was very
surprised when they told me that I just had to come along with them! That is how I met Chet at
his office in Nashville. Morning Jim and I spent an hour and one half with him and what he
taught me when I played for him made me think that all these years of work had not been for
nothing, and finally everything was beginning…

It is Jim, again, who encouraged me to perform on stage. From 1996, on a trip to Issoudun,
where an important French guitar festival was taking place, he asked me to play with him. In
1997, I was pleased to be featured on a special concert organized by Romane at Issoudun. I
shared the stage with Christian Escoudé, Sylvain Luc, Angelo Debarre, and Romane himself. I
have been fortunate to perform in many situations in France and in the US. In 1998 in
Nashville, Henno Althoff came to me and asked if I would be interested in recording for him. I
was surprised and flattered at the same time, but I was not enthusiastic because I didn’t want
to record solo. (I have found that one must be a exceptional guitarist to keep the interest of the
listener for 45-60 minutes.) But Jimmy told me that I must not turn this offer down and he
would record with me. Then, Tommy Emmanuel (incredible guitarist and showman that I had
met in Issoudun in 1996 and with whom I had developed a relationship during our meetings
in Nashville and Europe) proposed to play drums and bass. How can you refuse such a
dream team? And so it is with these two accomplices that I committed my first CD, Struttin’.

Since then, I have had the great luck to be accompanied on stage by talented musicians that
allow me to play in the same wonderful spirit. It is the spirit that I first discovered in Chet and
Jerry’s music, where the guitar player’s music is enhanced and embellished by the addition of
bass, drums and keyboards. In 2003, I had the privilege to record my second CD, Jump on It!
Yes, again it is homage to Jerry. What can I say? I admire this guy! And anyway, I can do what I
All thumbs                     Mark Casstevens
Charade                        Henry Mancini
Just another rag            J.R. Hubbard / C.Atkins
Black mountain rag        Traditionel
Music to watch girls by   Ramin / Velona
The claw                        Jerry R. Hubbard
Bill cheatham                 Traditionel
East wind                       Jerry R. Hubbard
Stumpwater                   Jerry R. Hubbard
Blue angel                     Nato Lima
Struttin'                          Jerry R. Hubbard
Lightnin' rod                   Jerry R. Hubbard
When you wish
upon a star                     Washington / Harline
CD's - $16.00 ea.
Jump On It!
First Rule Of Thumb
My Favorite Things
Dizzy Fingers
Arkansas Traveler
Grab Bag
My Gypsy heart
First Born
Dreaming Fairy Tales
Over The Rainbow
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Brent Mason
Rodger / Hart
Zez Confrey
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Mercer / Mandel
Gene Slone
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Jerry Reed Hubbard
Arlen / Harburg
CD's - $16.00 ea.

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