Most Wanted! Guy Cuevas – Ebony Game (Gaumont Musique)
And here we go bringin’ you way back to the roots of Disco. And by that to the ones of DJing and nightclubbing. Not in New York City, as some of you might at first think. But in Paris, back at the time when the phenomenon was burnin’ hot. And miles away from what the French scene has progressively become since then!
Yes folks, Paris happened to be burning. And if the Big Apple had Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage, then the French capital had Guy Cuevas at Le Palace! With etxravaganza, flamboyance, avant-gardism and versatility standing as the first keywords to describe the man. Not only behind the decks. But also musicwise, even though he only managed to release 3 singles.
‘Ebony Game’, his first offering back in 1982, showcases all these characteristics together. And this to a rare degree, meanwhile fusing countless vibes together along with Cuevas‘s convincing vocal performance. Somehow reminding of Terry Callier‘s bluesy accents at times. When not of Sylvester‘s falsetto tones elsewhere.
As for its musical concept, ‘Ebony Game’ brings the listener to a rare level of excitement. Meanwhile standing at the crossroad between Lamont Dozier‘s ‘Going Back To My Roots’ and compositions by the likes of cats such as Joe Claussell or Antonio Ocasio. Therefore comin’ up as a complex blend of African, Latin and Jazz vibes. And this with some undeniable atmospherism. With extra thanks to the insane flute part courtesy of Carlo Grasso. As to Titus Williams on bass. Not to mention its lush key parts turning themselves into a killer Cuban Jazz whirlwind on the second half of this gem…
Hard to believe more than 35 years have gone since its release as a matter of fact. Although never too late to check it for those who missed it. And eventually let us know what you think…
Born in Havana, Cuba in 1945, Guy Cuevas showed an early aptitude as a writer. He got awarded a scholarship to a playwriting workshop launched on the heels the 1959 revolution. He eventualy released a collection of short stories, “Ni un Sí, ni un No”, on Ediciones El Puente. Then soon after, he migrated to France where he continued writing for some time.
Alternating little jobs, he got his first DJ gig at club Nuage. His big break arriving soon after Fabrice Emaer discovered him prior to hire him as a DJ at Club Sept, his restaurant-discothèque located at 7 (sept) Sainte-Anne street in Paris.
Le Club Sept was only a appetizer for what was to come… Le Palace, a venue that embraced the arrival of Disco. Somehow inspired by NYC Studio 54, with Emaer willing to have every goer feeling like a superstar. Be it for 5 minutes! Our man eventually launching a second Palace at Cabourg’s casino in Normandy. An event which attracted 2 trains full of clubbers during its opening night back in Summer 1979. With everybody dancin’ – including yours truly – until the morning comes!
Working at Le Palace happened to be more demanding for Cuevas. Leaving him less space for improvisation as opposed to established hits. Tired with the repetitiveness, he switched to the exclusive downstairs club, called Le Privilège. This before leaving the venue for good in 1982.
Strangely enough Cuevas never got himself into remixing activities. Although he would manage to release 3 singles. With all of them standing as as ultra rare treasures in the collections of music connoisseurs from all over the world. Beginning with ‘Ebony Game’, his first offering back in 1982. An infectious gem which not only showcased the richness of his Latin Soul Jazz culture, but also his aptitude to caress the hearts and souls with his falsetto tones. Its follow-up – ‘Obsession’ – receiving the remixing treatment courtesy of François Kevorkian. Then, 2 years later, ‘Gallo Negro’ with instantly identifiable sleeve artwork by the likes of of Jean-Paul Goude.
Cuevas would be seen afterward as an artistic director. First of the club Bains Douches on rue du Bourg l’Abbé in Paris. Then at the Barrio Latino on rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Meanwhile, Fabrice Emaer never made money for himself from his activities. Reinvesting everything in refurbishing his places and organizing parties.
He sadly passed of a cancer on June 11, 1983, aged 48. He is remembered as “The Prince of the night”.
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