Jean Michel Jarre - Last Rendez-Vous (Ron's Piece)

In 1985 Jarre was invited by the musical director of the Houston Grand Opera in Texas to perform a concert to celebrate the city and state's 150th anniversary. Although he was busy with other projects and was initially unimpressed by the proposal, he later visited the city. He was immediately impressed by the visual grandeur of the city's skyline, and agreed to perform. That year also marked the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, and Jarre was contacted by NASA to integrate the anniversary into the concert.

The creation of Rendez-Vous took place over a period of two months, and as with Zoolook, contains elements of his 1983 album Musique pour Supermarché. The three movements of the score represent Houston's development from a rural economy, to its role as a leader in space technology. Baroque in style, the album uses a mixture of French horns, trombones and violins, and features heavy use of the Elka Synthex, notably so on "Third Rendez-Vous", a track Jarre often performs using a laser harp. Jarre worked with several Houston-based astronauts including Bruce McCandless II, and former Jazz musician Ronald McNair, who was to have played the saxophone on "Rendez-Vous VI", recorded in the weightless environment of space. McNair was to have performed at the concert over a live link, but was killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on 28 January 1986. Immediately following the accident consideration was given to the cancellation of the concert, but Jarre was contacted by McCandless and urged to proceed, and to mark the event as a tribute to the crew of the Shuttle mission. Following the Challenger disaster, the piece was recorded by Kirk Whalum and retitled "Ron's Piece".

I remember just before take-off, Ron calling me in Paris saying "Everything's ready, see you in a week's time, watch me on television for the take-off" ... I will really, keep always, the bit of Ron's smile and Ron's face in my heart.

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