Duo Pianos: Jean-Michel Pilc and Kenny Werner John Daversa Small Band Groove: Blue George Brooks' ASPADA New Nordic Trio Brian Bromberg Steve Smith John Daversa Lenny White Jean-Michel Pilc Solo Piano, Duo, Trio Gerry Obeirne Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition Leni Stern Dave Weckl Chris Minh Doky's Nomads Steve Gadd Band Mike Stern


"I remember the great artist Charles Laughton once saying that the depth of great art can be measured by its unpredictability. At the time this insight was imparted, it was to a group of actors bringing to life the characters of a play. But I have come to learn that this wisdom does not limit itself to the confines of thespian expression. When one examines the great casts of players that have emerged from the drama of jazz, no matter how varied their styles, from Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis, Jelly Roll Morton to Thelonious Monk, from Ben Webster to Charlie Parker the one ingredient most common to their greatness is the unpredictability of their art. And just when you think you've heard it all, someone new and unpredictable comes along. Welcome Jean-Michel Pilc.” Harry Belafonte:

Born in 1960 in Paris, now an American citizen, self-taught pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc has performed with numerous jazz giants: Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Rick Margitza, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, Lew Soloff, Richard Bona etc. He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist, and has performed a duet with the legendary opera singer Jessye Norman.

"His densely harmonic reinventions of standards you thought you knew clearly shows a musical genius at work." Eric Brace, The Washington Post

Jean-Michel moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). They recorded a one-week engagement at the legendary jazz club Sweet Basil and, in 2000, released two CDs: Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A-Records). Pilc then signed a record deal with Dreyfus Jazz. His first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home (featuring the same trio), was released in 2002. Jean-Michel's next recording, Cardinal Points, was released the following year. It featured his extended work Trio Sonata, created with generous support from Chamber Music America New Works: Creation and Presentation Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


"...ridiculously well-balanced, and trading in the kind of grace that still has the power to shake a room. Keith Jarrett found something similar... Pilc's nudging it a bit further down the line."
Down Beat, four Star Hot Box review

In 2004, Jean-Michel released his first solo album, Follow Me (Dreyfus). Then he returned to trio format to record Live at Iridium, NYC, in 2004, New Dreams in 2006, and True Story in 2009 (featuring Billy Hart). This was also a period of intensive touring all over the world.

"A dazzlingly inventive pianist." Nate Chinen, The New York Times

In 2009, Jean-Michel received his second New Works Grant from Chamber Music America, for the writing and performance of Modern Lights, a composition reflecting Charlie Chaplin’s work, and the inspiration Jean-Michel has gained from his movies. The project was premiered at the Caramoor Jazz Festival in August 2009.


"There may be no more diverse, unpredictable jazz piano player, song to song, than Jean-Michel Pilc."
Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes


Jean-Michel’s next two albums were both released in 2011 on the Motema label to great critical acclaim: Essential, a live solo piano recording, and Threedom, featuring his legendary trio with François Moutin & Ari Hoenig, which had re-formed in 2010 under the collective name Pilc Moutin Hoenig. There is also a documentary out by John McCormick titled Jean-Michel Pilc – A Portrait (2009, Living Jazz Archive).

"Mr Pilc seems to have dropped from the sky fully formed, with technique and his ideas in place. He is a physical and densely harmonic player, a splashy stunner who also has a Rubik's-cube mind for chord substitutions." Ben Ratliff, New York Times

In 2013, Jean-Michel was granted a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in the Music Composition category. The project was an octet, Big One, featuring all new original music.

In 2015, Jean-Michel released What Is This Thing Called? his third solo album and first release for Sunnyside. Jean-Michel is also a virtuoso whistler, as documented on a solo piano & whistle track in the CD Christmas from the Blue Note (2010, Half Note).

"...make no mistake about it, to his credit, Mr. Pilc is very unique... I would say that this trio starts at Mars, and then goes from there. Don't expect anything resembling conventional interpretations. This is fascinating and rewarding music..."
Rick Helzer, Jazz Improv

Always a busy performer, Jean-Michel has been very active in 2013-2016 as a leader, performing mainly solo and trio, and touring many places including Japan, Taiwan, Europe, USA and Canada. He has also been in high demand as a co-leader and sideman, participating in numerous projects over the world and recording more than 10 CDs. Among these projects and recordings: duos with Kenny Werner, Sam Newsome, Sylvain Luc and the legendary Martial Solal, trio with Thomas Bramerie & André Ceccarelli Twenty, guitarist Teriver Cheung Hong Kong Episodes, Greek bass player Petros Klampanis Contextual, NYC drummer Tony Moreno Short Stories, Moutin Reunion Quintet Deep, Brazilian guitarist Fabio Gouvea, Dutch bassist Jasper Somsen, Danish bassist Mads Vinding, and many others.

"The big discovery in the acoustic field was Jean-Michel Pilc. His sound is majestic, his statements urging. Supported by an equally strong rhythm section it didn't take him much effort to get Carel-Willinck Hall steaming..." NRC Handelsblad, reporting on a North Sea Jazz Festival appearance.

Jean-Michel has also built a strong international reputation as a very unique educator. Between 2006 and 2015, he was a NYU Steinhardt faculty member, giving private lessons (piano and other instruments), ensemble classes and improvisation workshops. He was Co-Director of NYU Summer Jazz Improv Workshop in 2010. Jean-Michel also taught for the New School in NYC, as well as privately.

"While never dry or abstract, Pilc is a model for playing a little to say a lot." Mark Keresman, Jazziz

At the same time, he released a book, It's About Music - The Art and Heart of Improvisation (Glen Lyon) and an educational video for all instruments, True Jazz Improvisation (JazzHeaven), followed by another video for JazzHeaven, Transcending the Instrument, about piano playing and practicing. All have been praised by his colleagues, and highly influential in the field of jazz education.

"should be studied in every music school in the galaxy..."
Harvey Siders, Jazz Times +Top 50 Picks for Critics Picks 2003
http://jazztimes.com/articles/158705-jean-michel-pilc-self-taught-still-learning

Since September 2015, Jean-Michel is an Associate Professor at The Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal. There, he is teaching jazz, piano, and improvisation (all instruments). He will be the new Jazz Area Chair starting January 2017, and will also be teaching a Seminar on improvisation in all styles to 40 McGill jazz and classical students. Jean-Michel also keeps releasing pedagogical material, including 2 video masterclasses on Improvisational Fluency for MyMusicMasterclass.com, as well as a masterclass in French, Anatomie d'un standard, for iMusic School.

"...visual art references come to mind: Cubist renderings of melody in which the original is reshaped into a completely different visual perspective; the shimmering opaqueness of Impressionism in some of Pilc's lush harmonies..." Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

In addition to already existing projects, Jean-Michel is now working on new Montreal- based ones, such as the Montreal Trio with Rémi-Jean Leblanc and Jim Doxas, which will record its first album in 2017, a Songs Project with vocalist Renée Yoxon, and an Octet with Rémi Bolduc, Kevin Dean and Jean-Nicolas Trottier. He has also been a special guest of the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal and a sideman of various Montreal musicians. He continues to play solo, as well as with NYC-based groups such as Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig, Total Madness Quintet featuring Moutin, Hoenig & Joel Frahm, and his NYC Trio with Or Bareket and Jerad Lippi.

"Jean-Michel Pilc belongs right in the front row." John Fordham, Guardian Unlimited (UK, **** review)

 
 
 
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