Perfume Directory

Live Jazz (1998)
by Yves Saint Laurent

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Live Jazz information

Year of Launch1998
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 550 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerPierre Bourdon
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchElf Aquitaine > Sanofi Beauté

About Live Jazz

Launched in 1998, ten years after the original Jazz. The Live Jazz packaging mirrors the original.
The fragrance contains notes of Coriander and Cedarwood.

Live Jazz fragrance notes

Reviews of Live Jazz

Yves Saint Laurent didn't weather the 90's on the men's side quite so well as it's contemporaries, as it had nothing to really cash in on the calone-powered fresh fougère craze, nor any fragrances banking on the trending aquatic style that was arguably invented by the perfumer behind the very scent this review is about (Pierre Bourdon), but right near the end of the decade they sought to fix that. We were one year before PPH/LVMH would buy YSL, taking their perfume business from Sanofi, the latter of which saw the house sort of flounder even if they were liberated from Charles of the Ritz. The Jazz line represented the male paradigm from YSL throughout the late 80's and 90's, with the original Jazz (1988) being a very anachronistic classic fougère that would eventually play into the desire for innocuous colognes by the 90's end, and the Jazz Prestige (1993) flanker being a louder, nuanced, and "more 90's" redressing that presaged the fruity/boozy subsection of masculine scents popularized with Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1995). Live Jazz (1998) was designed to catch the "fresh" wave, but was trying to be something different than an aquatic or even one of the emerging ozonics pioneered by stuff like Claiborne for Men (1989) or L'Eau de Issey Pour Homme (1994). Pierre Bourdon was brought back to orchestrate his first YSL masculine since Kouros (1981), and Live Jazz was far and away a 180 turn from that virile beast. It's hard to define what Live Jazz actually is, besides an abstract fresh masculine that borrows accords from popular cocktails, and although the stuff is very synthetic, it's also artful and boasts decent performance considering it's focus on crisp accords.

Other reviewers have noted a similarity to the mojito, and some say this has a quinine bitterness like the classic gin and tonic, but it rests between them thanks to it's bitter lemon peel and mint opening. Live Jazz doesn't have an actual quinine note to my nose, and I've drank enough gin and tonics to say that with authority, but it does have the boozy carbonated fizz associated with the mixer. Grapefruit is definitely a part of this, making it very Y2K in design, and the spices of coriander and nutmeg in the middle just give it heft to keep the bubbly top notes from burning off into the ether like an eau de cologne. Rhubarb and the slightly-incredulous "wild reed" sniff of Calvin Klein's mad scientist captives ("Kleinisms"), but Mr. Bourdon makes it all smell respectable and not like a total sham as many synthetic scents from this period do. The base is pretty light and dry, with cedar, an unknown synthetic ambergris note (that predates ambroxan), and just a drop of vanilla to keep this sweet enough not to be scratchy on the nose. Live Jazz feels like a missing link to stuff like modern Dior Sauvage (2015) because of it's citrus-over-ambergris synthesis, but the muddled mint and noticeable rhubarb keep it in the abstract weirdness of the late 90's. The overall affect is bitter lemon and mint counterbalanced by subtle spice and vanilla; this is a fresh scent that doesn't need the ocean, heaps of melon, or dry lavender to make it's point. You'll obviously need to enjoy a vodka-like clear booze note, mint, rhubarb, and lots bitters to really appreciate this, and at times it reminds me of the smell found in a bar of Lever 2000 soap, especially near the end as the vanilla and mint mix. This stuff is clean, and rings like a bell in high humidity, so I'd stick to using it outdoors in summer.

Pierre Bourdon is obviously a master perfumer capable of creating miracles in a bottle whether at $50USD a bottle or $500USD, but I don't think Live Jazz qualifies as being quite the game changer that Green Irish Tweed (1986) and Cool Water (1988) were in the fight for freshness, even if it is quite distinct and long-lasting. Live Jazz had another problem to contend with as well, in that it didn't smell one iota like either previous Jazz fragrance. Folks coming into Live Jazz new didn't mind, and this does have it's fans, but guys that loved the lavender and geranium of the original or the apple cinnamon zing of the flanker wouldn't find any favor with what is effectively a high ball drink in a spray bottle. The design of Live Jazz bottles would also be passed down to Jazz, while Jazz Prestige was eliminated, but eventually Live Jazz would get an early retirement too as it didn't catch on and Tom Ford would come on board in 1999 to send YSL back into a time machine it thought it was leaving behind after the end of the 80's. Of note, Swiss Army by Victorinox (1997) seems to have touched upon the minty citric floral idea a year before this landed, just not with nearly as much sophistication, but might serve as an adequate replacement in a pinch. Fans of Live Jazz may also like Wild Country Outback (2003), which takes similar paths (and was equally unsuccessful), but with cucumber replacing mint in the cocktail, or the much-later Guerlain Homme (2008), which revisits the mojito theme. I like Live Jazz, but I admit it's not very generalist even for a freshie, so it's a mood scent good for a hot day but little else. Thumbs up from me, but with a bit of reservation, as the original Jazz is still my poison of choice in the line. Collectors are liable to find more favor for this than more practical-minded hobbyists due to it's tonic-like scent trail, and it's price reflects that, so sampling is in order. Live Jazz is quite the cool customer, but it's not everyone's favorite tune.
04th July, 2018 (last edited: 07th October, 2018)
Stardate 20180605:

This is a recipe for a nice summer cocktail. It is a mix of Mojito (the mint,coriander) and Gin-Tonic (aromatics) but better than both - as it should be since Pierre Bordon is the bartender.

I have tried all three of the Jazzes in almost all formulations and I think they are all well done.
Live Jazz for summery fun, Prestige for formal occasion and Jazz for everything else.
05th June, 2018
One of the best scents i have ..
It was a blind buy and i love it ..

Just the right amount of everything in it , that makes it one of the best summer scents out there.
The great thing about this is that its a hidden gem , and very hard to find, so you wont find too muh people wearing it.

a must have and a 10/10.
10th October, 2017
The third iteration of Jazz, Live Jazz, released in 1998, a decade after the original, is a significant departure from the original and Jazz Prestige in that it's much fresher and less spicy.

It opens with a citrus lemon/grapefruit mix and mint, drying down into a slightly herbal heart with some punch via coriander, and finally a base of cedar and ambergris. As with the other Jazz renditions, the woody notes stand out most in the dry down, which in this case is the cedar.

With Live Jazz, versatility is up but performance, masculinity, and a semblance of a more classic style are each lower. It's a trade-off that makes Live Jazz more pleasing to most, even for use by women, but will undoubtedly turn away those that enjoy the spiciness of the original and especially Jazz Prestige. Still, Live Jazz is a very pleasant, mildly fresh and woody blend that serves its purpose---a modern take on the more classic fragrance.

7 out of 10
20th April, 2017
A quintessential example of an aromatic-citrus scent. Live Jazz is sort of a special fragrance, in that it's completely unique and something that will undoubtedly remain in your olfactory memory once you've tried it. I don't wear it anymore, but that's only because I've moved on to other things, and I imagine I may even go back to it at some point in the future. Overall, Live Jazz presents a very herbal, fragrant impression. It's almost as if it was composed with ingredients picked fresh from the garden and mixed in the kitchen. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for. Some people like natural, herbal spices in their fragrances, while others are looking for something more abstract or synthetic, and try to avoid the "spice rack" aroma that can result. It's also pretty sharp. What you will get from Live Jazz is a good dose of lemon, grapefruit, and mint up front, which soon gives way to a substantial and uncompromising shot of cilantro. It doesn't make sense that cilantro isn't listed in the note pyramid, because I would say this a cilantro-based fragrance first and foremost. Rhubarb? I don't know, I don't smell it at all. But if you have never smelled cilantro, make sure to sample this first. It's a very distinct smelling herb that will either sway you in favor of Live Jazz or make you hate it. Everything else is well-balanced here. Some darker spices in the base, some amber, and an easygoing cedar note eventually bring Live Jazz to a calmer, serene finish, which is in stark contrast to the sharp, unabashedly aromatic opening and heart. This can still be found for a pretty good price, and I recommend taking a gamble on it while you can. Thumbs up (unless you're averse to cilantro).
11th October, 2014
A good and solid fresh fragrance for spring and summer. It's nice how generously minty and coriandery Live Jazz is; I've always liked those herbs. There's something in the opening which reminds me a bit of JPG's Le Beau Male. Nice whiffs of nutmeg and cedar in the base. Longevity and sillage are quite moderate in my opinion. My father used to have a bottle of regular Jazz around from time to time. Now this stylish zigzag-shaped flacon design finally landed in my own collection, yay!
28th August, 2014

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