Sacha Distel was one of the top jazz guitarists and chanson singers in France. A prolific recording artist, Distel recorded more than 200 tunes including his biggest hit, "Scoubidou," in 1958. In addition to appearing in several French films, he became one of France's most popular television actors. Distel inherited his love of music from his mother, who played piano, and an uncle, Ray Ventura, who was a renowned bandleader and composer. Trained by Henry Salvador, guitarist/singer for Ventura's orchestra, Distel was a featured soloist with his school orchestra by the age of 13. He established his early reputation as accompanist for French vocalist Juliette Gréco.
Following a stint in the French military, he spent an extended period in New York, haunting jazz clubs in Manhattan and Harlem. Returning to France, Distel launched his solo career.
The success that he enjoyed during the '60s and '70s was offset by a series of setbacks in the '80s. After struggling psychologically following a mid-'80s car crash, in which a colleague was seriously hurt, Distel was diagnosed with cancer and forced to undergo chemotherapy.
Distel's compositions have been covered by a lengthy list of international artists including Archie Shepp, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Billy Eckstine, Bobby Hackett, Shirley Horn, and Bireli Lagrene. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 71. ~ Craig Harris