Nougaro absorbed jazz and Brazilian influences and collaborated with many musicians around the world.
Born in Toulouse, south-west France, he worked first as a journalist before writing poems that he set to music.
“I am a singer of texts who can just about keep rhythm,” he said in 1997. Nougaro suffered heart problems later in life and stopped singing in 2002.
He recorded 20 albums in a career that spanned nearly 50 years.
Among his best-known songs are Toulouse, Cecile, Jazz et Java and Paris Mai.
Though he was greatly influenced by such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Nougaro said the French language meant he had to create a different musical form to fit his verses.
“For me jazz is too much bound up with the sound of the English language, which uses simple words,” he said.0