Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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LEGRAND, Michel

(b 24 February 1932, Paris) Pianist, composer, conductor. His father Raymond led a variety band and wrote film music. He accompanied singers, arranged strings for Dizzy Gillespie '52; to USA and recorded with Frankie Laine, other pop and jazz artists. Columbia LPs included I Love Paris, Bonjour Paris, chart LPs Holiday In Rome, Vienna Holiday, Castles In Spain '55-6; LeGrand Jazz '58 (ten-piece group with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Miles's last work as a sideman). There were also Brian's Song on Bell, Sarah Vaughan/Michel Legrand on Mainstream, both '72; over 100 LPs altogether.

His score for The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg '64 featured the voice of his sister Christiane (b 21 August 1930; d 1 November 2011); she also sang with the Blue Stars '55-7, the Double Six of Paris '58-60, and was a soloist with the Swingle Singers. More film scores included The Thomas Crown Affair '68 (theme 'Windmills Of Your Mind' won Oscar for best song), The Go-Between '70, Summer Of '42 '72 (Oscar for best score); Yentl '83 (a third Oscar).

The Cherbourg soundtrack album was on Philips, a two-disc complete score on Polydor '85; there was also a symphonic suite on Columbia/USA backed with a suite from The Go-Between. The Warm Shade Of Memory '95 on Evidence had him playing piano leading a trio, singing on two tracks, with his friend Toots Thielemans playing harmonica on two others.