Over the course of the past decade, Grégoire Maret has emerged as a unique and compelling new voice across a wide spectrum of the modern jazz world. That his chosen instrument – the harmonica - is a relative rarity in the genre is one element in his singular sound, but far from the whole explanation. After all, the extensive list of heavy-hitters who have enlisted him for their own projects is unparalleled: Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, and Marcus Miller are some of his most prominent employers. Maret has redefined the role of the harmonica, finding fresh pathways through a remarkable variety of styles. Herbie Hancock has called Maret "one of the most creative musicians around," while Marcus Miller has declared that he is "carrying the instrument into the 21st century with prowess, passion, and creativity."
Having been voted one of the top miscellaneous instrument winners in past jazz critics’ polls, his guest appearances on recording sessions and concert stages expand that list to even more jawdropping proportions: Raul Midón, Jimmy Scott, Jacky Terrasson, Richard Bona, Sean Jones, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kurt Elling, Lionel Loueke, Mike Stern, and Charlie Hunter have all made use of Maret's unmatched palette of color. More recently, he's worked alongside some of the biggest names in music, including Elton John, Sting, and Prince at Stings' The Concert for the Rainforest.
Maret grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, the son of a Harlem-born, African-American mother and a Swiss father. After studying at the prestigious Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Genève he decided to undertake jazz studies at New York's New School University. Intending to return to Switzerland and a career as a teacher, Maret soon found himself working regularly with NYC's finest jazz musicians, and his decision to stick around for a year after graduation was extended indefinitely. Calls came quickly from bandleaders as diverse as Jacky Terrasson, Steve Coleman, and Meshell Ndegeocello, each of whose music required Maret to expand his vision of his own instrument, an ideal that continues to this day.
Maret’s newest album, Wanted, will be released in 2016 on Sunnyside Records. It features a host of amazing collaborators including Terri Lyne Carrington, James Genus, Gerald Clayton, Chris Potter, Luciana Souza, Ricardo Vogt, Marvin Sewell, Kevin Breit, Jon Cowherd, Shedrick Mitchell, Bobby Sparks, Gil Goldstein, Mino Cinelu and Kofo the Wonderman.