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Yves Charbonneau was born in 1934 in a working-class neighborhood in the east end of Montreal to Eugène Charbonneau and Dorothée Coulombe.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Yves Charbonneau was a trumpet player in various jazz orchestras. He married Francoise Labonne in 1962. He had three daughters, Nathalie, Sophie, and Julie, and a son. In 1967, together with Guy Thouin, Jean Prefontaine and Maurice Richard, he formed the group Quatuor du Jazz libre du Québec, where he was the trumpet player. In 1968 the group participated the Osstidcho. Thereafter, Charbonneau accompanied Robert Charlebois, L’Infonie, and Plume Latraverse.
From 1970 to 1972, the Quatuor du Jazz libre du Québec build up an artistic and political commune, known as Petit Québec libre, in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Rochelle in the Eastern Townships. After its closure, the quartet opened l’Amorce, an experimental coffeehouse located at 25 St.-Paul E., in Montreal, where they were performing until the club's destruction by fire in June 1974.
After the break-up of Jazz libre du Québec in 1975, Yves Charbonneau improvised in various groups, playing at Conventum and Véhicule Art. In 1987, he began studying photography at the Cegep of Matane, Quebec.
He died on February 22, 2007.
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