The Lafayette Suite (with Walter Smith III)

The fabulous American adventure of the Marquis de Lafayette (1757 – 1834) between 1775 and 1783 provided the material that inspired this album and brought us the backing of the Mid-Altantic Arts Foundation in the context of the FAJE program (French American Jazz Exchange). Lafayette is not just the historical figure who best symbolizes the French-American friendship ; through his combat for freedom, his audacity and his spirit, he illustrates the qualities that have always driven jazz musicians.

I suggested to Walter Smith III that we write a suite in ten chapters together that would retrace this destiny. The themes I chose are characters, places and important events that took place during the eight years of Lafayette’s engagement alongside the American Insurgents. They are presented here in chronological order. Walter’s compositions alternate systematically with mine, and I wanted them to follow each other as closely as possible to reinforce the narrative effect.
To join us in this adventure, I called the same rhythm section that already recorded Eight Fragments of Summer.

Compositions #1-3-5-7-9 by Laurent Coq and #2-4-6-8-10 by Walter Smith III
Recorded at Studio Tedesco in New Jersey, on September 1 and 2, 2015. Mixing at Avatar Studio in New York.
Reocrding, mixing and mastering by Katsuhiko Naito.
Produced by Laurent Coq.

  • Laurent Coq piano
  • Walter Smith III tenor saxophone
  • Joe Sanders bass
  • Damion Reid drums


Laurent Coq and Walter Smith III album shows audacity, in the present day ; full of lifeblood, reflection and joy.
Francis Marmande, Le Monde

These are artists executing at the height of inventiveness (…) The quartet operates on an almost subliminal level executing the art of composition and improvisation (…) Jazz in particular is an art form of individualism but more so, partnership, as this outstanding recording illustrates.
Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz, 4,5*

A suite of beautiful musicality, possessed with an high idea of destiny

Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine / * * * *

Following its inspirator, this jazz ventures on side roads, transcends compositions and glorifies them through a synthesis of thoroughness and improvisation
Christian Larrède, Jazz News / Sélection

The music in itself is a story ; built with science, sung with virtuosity, told with a simple grace

Pierre Tenne, Djam

Four exceptional solists united by sincerity, beyond the symbol
Lorraine Soliman, Politis

A successful undertaking that surely ups the profile of both players as composers

(…) Laurent Coq has many things to say and share. To such an extent that his music becomes an art of the conversation with the musicians that gather around him (…) His understanding with Walter Smith III is so remarquable that it is the sign of a prefect symbiosis.
Jean-Marc Gélin, Les Dernières Nouvelles du Jazz

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