Born: 1960 in Paris, France
Styles: Post-Bop, Contemporary Jazz, Mainstream Jazz
All Music Guide
Born in 1960 in Paris, self-taught, Jean-Michel Pilc has played with some of the best American and European jazz musicians: Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, Richard Bona, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, etc... He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist.
While living in Europe, he toured in forty countries and participated in more than a dozen recordings, as well as many film scores.
Jean-Michel's desire to expand his musical experience brought him to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with Francois Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). Soon, they were performing in most jazz venues in NYC, including: Blue Note, Birdland, Knitting Factory and Sweet Basil.
They recorded a one week engagement at Sweet Basil and, in 2000, released 2 CDs Jean-Michel Pilc Trio - Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A-Records) which have received an exceptional critical acclaim in the US and in Europe. Then Pilc signed a multirecord deal with Dreyfus Jazz. Pilc's first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home (featuring the same trio), was released beginning of 2002 and got rave reviews from the press, lots of airplay as well as high sales figures.
The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio quickly acquired a brilliant reputation on the international scene. In 2002 alone, they did a 5 week tour for the release of Welcome Home, followed by a 4 week fall tour of 7 European countries (including the Rising Stars Tour in Germany, Austria & Switzerland). They have recently performed in numerous festivals & venues around the world (NYC, Philly, DC, Chicago, Boston, Montreal, North Sea, Tokyo, Juan, Marciac, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Italy, Ireland, etc...).
A recent Chicago engagement inspired Neil Tesser to write: "Pilc's playing reveals a roaring fire that all but consumes the cosmopolitan sheen stereotypical of European music....he creates an admirable trialogue with his band mates (bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig), that represents another stage in the evolution of the interplay brought to piano jazz by Bill Evans. The Chicago Tribune's Howard Reich found that "Pilc took his place among the most accomplished and stylistically daring jazz pianists working today." And Eric Brace wrote in the Washington Post that: "His densely harmonic reinventions of standards you thought you knew clearly shows a musical genius at work."
Pilc's next album for Dreyfus, Cardinal Points was released in 2003 and received extraordinary reviews: JazzTimes said it "should be studied in every music school in the galaxy..." choosing the CD as one of Top 50 Picks for Critics Picks 2003; and a four Star "Hot Box" review in Down Beat said it's "...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"
Jean-Michel has just recorded a solo album for Dreyfus, Follow Me, soon to be released. In addition to his solo & trio engagements, he teaches in clinics and master classes.
As a sideman, he has recently played and recorded with drummer Ari Hoenig (The Painter on Smalls Records), vocalists Elisabeth Kontomanou and J-D Walter, bassist/vocalist Richard Bona (Scenes from my life on Sony/Columbia), and soprano saxist Sam Newsome's new Palmetto release.