Jean Labre (photos M. Vicent-Roubert)All the Harmonicas
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Franco de Gemini Death
Franco de Gemini has passed away on July 20th at the age of 84, in Roma, Italy. The Harmonica world is in mourning.

The mouth organ has often been taken by movies directors as an essentiel ingredient closely involved with the movies pictures. It sometimes happens that the music has more intensity than the picture and, being a musician, I'll surely never complain about it.
In 2007, the movie soundtrack was celebrated in January, in the honor of Franco De Gemini during the "Midem" Festival (International music publishers and records business Convention) in Cannes, France.

Franco de Gemini was the example of an artist who may be have not a wellknown name, even though millions of people around the world have come accross his work, many films-goers would be unable to recognize De Gemini name. And yet, they have heard De Gemini's haunting harmonica-playing in the most dramatic moments of Sergio Leone's "spaghetti western" " Once Upon a Time In The West ". They were scored by an other italian, Ennio Morricone, who was set to receive a "Career Oscar" during the Academy Awards Ceremony in February, that same year.
De Gemini has played on over 800 soundtracks, more than 8600 hours of recording sessions, which means he surely is worth a place in the " Guiness Book of Records ".
Composers, producers, movies stars... Franco have been closely frequenting the upper crust of the movie system for more than a half century : Joe d'Amato, Visconti, Vittorio de Sica, Sergio Leone, Ennio Morricone, Henri Mancini, Italo Zingarelli, Leonard Bernstein... Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Charles Bronson, and his double, the french actor Lino Ventura, etc... as many celebrities as many movies successes : "Once Upon a Time in the West", "A Fistful of Dollars", "The Good the Bad and the Ugly", "My Name is Trinity", "Death in Venice", "Manhattan", "Bread, Love and Fantasy", "Mission Cobra", "The Battle of England", "Holocaust", "The Ruffian", "West Side Story" 1985 recording in Roma directed by Leonard Bernstein, etc. He has recorded his first soundtrack movie "Bread Love and Fantasy" in 1950.

Franco de Gemini has always been attentive to the harmonica life. He was still faithful to the "Club Harmonicisti Torinesi" spirit he founded during the fifties. I met him in several circumstances, as many opportunities to share a passion with a great musician and a so kind man... praised in these terms by Ennio Morricone : "Caro Franco, la tua ezecuzione con l'harmonica é, ancora una volta, degna del film e dell'idea musicale che l'accompagna. Grazie encore." Ennio Morricone
"Dear Franco, your execution with the harmonica is, once more, worthy of the film and of the musical idea that accompanies it. Thank you again".

I and my harmonica friends, we are offering our very sincere condolences to his wife and children.
Jean Labre

Photo: Beat records, from a painting by Sandra Symeoni
Published July 26th 2013


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