‘Boulevard’, the 1995 debut album from Parisian producer Ludovic Navarre — aka St Germain — was by no means the first time jazz had mixed with house. Larry Heard, to name just one artist, was making those connections years earlier. But it was perhaps the first time the mixture had felt so downright inevitable. ‘Boulevard’ is one of those rare records that makes everything sound easy: An album that revolutionized the perception of French music, consummated the union between house and jazz, and spawned a million weakling copies.
‘Boulevard’ created waves in France and beyond. America may have initially looked the other way— the album wasn’t even released there until 2002 — but the UK, then in the middle of an acid jazz splurge, flipped for the album’s Parisian cool, with it topping dance magazine Muzik’s albums of the year list ahead of Goldie’s ‘Timeless’. This may seem unremarkable now. But in those days, British attitudes to French music often fell somewhere between willing ignorance and downright contempt.