Rene Gely

Biography

I started guitar lessons in 1969 at the age of 7 and fell in love with the world of sound, never to return. Studies at the University of Toronto under Eli Kassner followed, from 1980-84, then I received a Arts Council of Ontario grant to study at USC in Los Angeles.

 

I stayed in Los Angeles and my musical focus shifted from classical to jazz guitar. While in L.A. I had the great opportunity to study for 2 years with the legendary guitarist, Ted Greene, author of “Chord Chemistry” and many other notable books. Ted was one of the most sensitive, beautiful people I have ever met and every lesson with him had at least one jaw-dropping moment of guitar nirvana.

 

In 1990 I received a Canada Council grant to go to Paris and write  a suite for Liona Boyd, under the tutelage of Pierre Bensusan. I stayed in Paris for 12 years, performing, recording and taking some lessons in improvisation with Steve Lacy, the eminent soprano saxophonist. Steve was one of the greatest improvisers on soprano and a very precise and demanding teacher... what do you expect from someone who knew every Thelonious Monk tune, and had even performed with Monk?

 

I took up the piano in 1995 and studied classical and jazz piano pretty seriously, eventually working through all 2 and 3 part Inventions and the 1st book of the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach. I studied classical piano with Ephraim Lahor, professor of piano at the Conservatoire de Issy Les Moulineaux, and Julia Cload, a british pianist who has recorded extensively.

 

In 2003 I moved with my wife, Sima, and daughter, Lea, to San Francisco. There I started a world music trio named Pulse Mondiale that explored latin and world rhythms. The Peruvian percussionist in that group, Raul Ramirez, was a great inspiration for me.

 

By 2005 I was back in the Ottawa area, performing, recording and teaching. I was able to reform Pulse Mondiale with the excellent Ottawa percussionist Rob Graves and have been active on the local musical scene with many other artists, most notably, the talented singer Renée Yoxon.