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Franck Amsallem, c. 2012
|Born||25 October 1961|
Oran, French Algeria
|Occupation(s)||Composer, bandleader, musician|
|Labels||Sunnyside, Naïve, Nocturne, jazz&people,|
|Associated acts||Gary Peacock, Bill Stewart, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Chambers, Tim Ries|
Amsallem started learning the piano at age 7 and also took up the classical saxophone at the local conservatory. Early in his studies he was able to hear such artists as Thad Jones, Count Basie, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz live at the Nice Jazz Festival. Amsallem started gigging in 1976 at the age of fourteen in Nice, and by high school was playing in dance bands throughout the Cote d'Azur and featured in the INA documentary La Leçon de Musique as a student of John Lewis. He was then awarded a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in 1981-84, to study composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy and Michael Gibbs.
New York City
After Boston, Amsallem moved to New York City in 1986 to earn a Masters in Jazz composition at the Manhattan School of Music. He went on to study with Bob Brookmeyer from 1986 to 1990, all the while continuing his classical piano studies with Phillip Kawin. Amsallem has augmented his formal education by participating in the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop under the direction of Manny Albam & Bob Brookmeyer. He then played or collaborated with Gerry Mulligan, Joe Chambers, Gary Peacock, Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Maria Schneider, Jerry Bergonzi, Charles Lloyd, Bobby Watson, Roy Hargrove, Kevin Mahogany, Ravi Coltrane, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Belden, Sonny Fortune, Tim Ries, Gary Bartz, Rick Margitza, Joe Roccisano, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Harry Belafonte.
In 1987, Amsallem played a weeklong duo session with bassist Jay Leonhart at the Knickerbocker Saloon, New York. In 1989, Amsallem's composition "Obstinated" was performed by the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, now known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. His 1990 recording debut, "Out a Day", featuring Gary Peacock on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, was recorded at the famed Clinton Recording Studios in Manhattan. The album was very well received by the international jazz press and highly praised by the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, which gave it its maximum rating (four stars). He has since written, conducted and recorded big band music for the Köln Radio Jazz Orchestra (WDR), the Orchestre National de jazz (France), chamber cross-over music for the Prism Saxophone Quartet, Chicago's chamber ensemble Fulcrum Point, and cross-over symphonic pieces as well as big band music for the Mancini Institute. He has taught or given workshops at Roosevelt University, New York's 92Y, Paris' CNSM, CRR, the Royal conservatory in Den Haag, and in many other countries. To date, he has recorded 11 albums as a leader.
Amsallem has received several awards, including a 1989 Composition Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1989 Fondation de la Vocation Award from France, the 1991 ASCAP award for Young composers, the second prize at the 1992 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, and the 2010 FAJE Award (French American Jazz Exchange). Touring with his group and as a sideman launched him into the major jazz music scene, and he has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori, Molde, Paris, Antibes Juan-les-Pins, Nice Jazz festival, etc.
In 2009 he released his first solo piano album, "Amsallem Sings" featuring himself on vocals.
He was invited to conduct and write for the WDR Big Band in 2011.
He has performed all around the world (United States, the Netherlands, Israel, Algeria, China, South Africa, Portugal, South and Central America, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sénégal). He toured throughout 2011 in South America, Europe and Asia, and performed at the Java Jazz Festival, on its way to solo concerts in Vietnam and in The Emirates.
In 2019, his new quartet, featuring Cuban saxophonist Irving Acao, released "Gotham Goodbye" for the jazz&people label, to unanimous critical acclaim.
An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.
|1992*||Out a Day||OMD||Trio, with Gary Peacock (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)|
|1993*||Regards||Freelance||Quartet, with Tim Ries (sax), Scott Colley (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)|
|1996*||Is That So||Sunnyside||Trio, with Tim Ries (tenor sax), Leon Parker (drums, percussion)|
|1997*||Another Time||Challenge/A||Trio, with Gary Peacock (bass), Bill Stewart (drums), reissue of Out a Day|
|1999*||Years Gone By||Challenge/A||Quartet, with Tim Ries (sax), Riccardo Del Fra (bass), Daniel Humair (drums)|
|2000*||On Second Thought||Naïve||With Tim Ries (alto sax, soprano sax), Johannes Weidenmuller (bass), Marc Miralta (drums)|
|2003||Summer Times||Sunnyside||Trio, with Johannes Weidenmuller (bass), Joe Chambers (drums)|
|2004*||Out a Day (reissue)||Nocturne Records||Trio, with Gary Peacock (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)|
|2005||A Week in Paris||Nocturne Records||Duo to sextet, with Rick Margitza (tenor sax), Stéphane Belmondo (trumpet), Darryl Hall (bass), Elisabeth Kontomanou (vocals), Dré Pallemaerts (drums)|
|2009*||Amsallem Sings||Fram||Solo piano and vocals|
|2014*||Franck Amsallem Sings Vol. II||Fram||Trio with Sylvain Romano (bass) and Karl Jannuska (drums)|
|2018*||At Barloyd||jazz&people||Solo piano|
|2019*||Gotham Goodbye||jazz&people||Quartet with Irving Acao (tenor sax), Viktor Nyberg (bass) and Gautier Garrigue (drums)|
- 1991 Toujours Michel Perez, with Ron Carter and Billy Drummond (Lazer/Instant Present 1009)
- 1991 Sous Verre Jean-Louis Almosnino & Nagette Haider with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum (Lazer/Instant Present 1008)
- 1992 New York Stories Danny Gatton, with Bobby Watson, Joshua Redman and Roy Hargrove (Blue Note)
- 1995 Imaginary Time Tim Ries, with Randy Brecker, Ben Monder, Scott Colley and Joey Baron (Moo/Tokuma)
- 1996 Blue Note Then and Now with Jack Walrath, Bobby Watson, Judi Silvano, Tony Reedus and Jeff Andrews (Blue Note)
- 2000 Prism Quartet with Tim Ries, Michael Whitcombe, Matt Levy, Taimur Sullivan (Innova)
- 2006 Stones World Tim Ries, with Bernard Fowler, Fred Favarel, Thomas Bramerie and Charlie Watts (Sunnyside)
- 2007 Le Flirt de Satie Gerard Kleijn, with Paul Berner and Joost Kesselar
- 2009 New Life, David Prez, with Johannes Weidenmuller, and Bill Stewart (Paris Jazz Underground)
- 2012 Hands Down, Linus Olsson, avec Jean-Marc Jafet et Nicolas Viccaro
- 2014 Keys, Melanie Dahan, with Thomas Bramerie and Lukmil Perez (Backstage)
- 2017 Le Meilleur Moment du Monde, Jean-Marc Jafet, with Linus Olsson, Stéphane Guillaume and Alain Asplanato (VLF Productions)
- 1981-1983: Full scholarship from Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres (France) to attend the Berklee College of Music
- 1983: Count Basie Award, Berklee College of Music.
- 1983-1984: Full scholarship from Ministere de la Culture (France) to attend the Berklee College of Music
- 1984: Oscar Peterson Award, Berklee College of Music.
- 1986-87: Scholarship award to attend the Manhattan School of Music
- 1989: Fondation Bleustein-Blanchet pour la Vocation Award (France)
- 1989: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to compose works for string orchestra.
- 1990: ASCAP Award For Young Composer.
- 1992: Great American Jazz Piano Competition (2nd prize)
- 2010: FAJE Award (French American Jazz Exchange)
- Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2002). The Penguin guide to jazz on CD. Penguin. p. 38. ISBN 0-14-051521-6.
- "Take Five With Franck Amsallem". All About Jazz. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Lindsay, Bruce (2010). "Amsallem Sings". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2010-09-08.