Meet American jazz musician Vinx, now living in France

Jazz musician Vinx has played with some musical superstars. He tells Jane Hanks about life in the Aude village that he now calls home

Vinx is a virtuoso American jazz musician who has played and toured the world with Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Sting, but now in his sixties, he has left the United States to make his home in Chalabre, a small French village in the Aude.

He has brought the international music scene to the village and the villagers have responded with an overwhelming welcome to the American star who has shown that you don’t have to live in New York or Paris to experience great art. Jane Hanks chatted to him about his new life in a village he says he is sure no other American has ever heard of.

Vinx, short for Vincent De’Jon Parrette, is a singer and percussionist. He plays both solo and in bands and says he was the first drummer singer. His music ranges from jazz to funk, bossa nova to blues and is influenced by his travels. You might not have heard of him but he has played with and been appreciated by an impressively long list of the great musicians of our time: Taj Mahal, Sting, Tom Jones, Herbie Hancock, Stewart Copeland, Ricki Lee Jones, Cher, Sheryl Crow, Cassandra Wilson... Stevie Wonder said about him: “Vinx is the gift you give to someone you really care about”. 

He was born in December 1957 and grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. He came from a musical background, and his French name comes from his family’s origins in Martinique. At first it seemed he was destined for a career in sport. When he was at school he became National Champion in multiple track events and went on to do an athletics scholarship and recorded the second longest triple jump in the world.

He was due to take part in the 1980 Moscow Olympics but the US boycotted the games. It was then he decided to dedicate his career to music which was ...

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