Franck Amsallem

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Franck Amsallem
Franck Amsallem.jpeg
Background information
Born (1961-10-25) 25 October 1961 (age 54)
Oran, French Algeria
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano, singing
Years active 1976–present
Labels Sunnyside, Naive, Nocture
Associated acts Gary Peacock, Bill Stewart

Franck Amsallem is a French-American jazz pianist, arranger, composer, and singer. He was born in 1961 in Oran, French Algeria, but grew up in Nice, France.[1]

Early years[edit]

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 Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice. He made his professional debut 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 the documentary La Leçon de Musique as a student of John Lewis. He attended Berklee College of Music[2] in the early 1980s to study composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy and Michael Gibbs.

New York City[edit]

Amsallem moved to New York City in 1986 to attend the Manhattan School of Music to study jazz composition with Bob Brookmeyer. He continued his classical piano studies with Phillip Kawin while playing jazz and composing. He played or collaborated with Gerry Mulligan, Joe Chambers, Gary Peacock, Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Maria Schneider, Jerry Bergonzi, Charles Lloyd, Bobby Watson, Kevin Mahogany, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Belden, Sonny Fortune, Tim Ries, Rick Margitza, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Harry Belafonte.

In 1989, Amsallem's composition "Obstinated" was performed by the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, now known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. 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. His 1990 recording debut, Out a Day, featuring Gary Peacock on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, was produced at the Clinton Recording Studios in Manhattan. The album was reviewed by the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, which gave it four stars (maximum rating).[3] He has recorded several solo albums and has performed all around the world (United States, the Netherlands, Israel, The Emirates, 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.

Amsallem has received several awards, including a Composition Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the ASCAP award for Young composers, a FAJE Award (French American Jazz Exchange) and the Fondation de la Vocation Award from France.


Amsallem returned to France in 2002, settling in Paris. He has collaborated, or recorded with Stephane Belmondo, Elisabeth Kontomanou, Sara Lazarus. In 2009 he released a solo album.[4] Franck Amsallem Sings Vol. II was released in September 2014.


As leader[edit]

  • 1992 Out a Day with Gary Peacock and Bill Stewart (OMD)
  • 1993 Regards with Tim Ries, Scott Colley and Bill Stewart (Freelance)
  • 1996 Is That So with Tim Ries and Leon Parker (Sunnyside)
  • 1997 Another Time with Gary Peacock and Bill Stewart (Challenge/A) (reissue Out a Day),
  • 1998 Years Gone Bywith Tim Ries, Riccardo Del Fra and Daniel Humair (Challenge/A)
  • 2000 On Second Thought with Tim Ries, Johannes Weidenmuller and Marc Miralta (Naïve)
  • 2003 Summer Timeswith Johannes Weidenmuller and Joe Chambers (Nocturne (France)/Sunnyside)
  • 2004 Out a Day (Nocturne (France)) (reissue)
  • 2005 A Week in Paris with Elisabeth Kontomanou, Stephane Belmondo, Rick Margitza, Darryl Hall and Dre Pallemaerts (Nocturne (France))
  • 2009 Amsallem Sings (Fram)
  • 2014 Franck Amsallem Sings Vol. II with Sylvain Romano and Karl Jannuska (Fram)

As sideman[edit]

  • 1991 Toujours, Michel Perez with Ron Carter and Billy Drummond (Lazer/Instant Present 1009)
  • 1991 Sous Verre with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum JL Almosnino-Nagette Haider (Lazer/Instant Present 1008)
  • 1992 New York Stories with Danny Gatton, Bobby Watson, Joshua Redman and Roy Hargrove (Blue Note)
  • 1995 Imaginary Time with Randy Brecker, Ben Monder, Scott Colley and Joey Baron (Moo/Tokuma)
  • 1996 Blue Note Then and Now with Jack Walrath, Bobby Watson, Judy Silvano, Tony Reedus and Jeff Andrews (Blue Note)
  • 2000 Prism Quartet with Tim Ries, Michael Whitcombe, Matt Levy, Taimur Sullivan (Innova)
  • 2006 Stones World with Tim Ries, Bernard Fowler, Fred Favarel, Thomas Bramerie and Charlie Watts (Sunnyside)
  • 2007 Le Flirt de Satie with Gerard Kleijn, Paul Berner and Joost Kesselar
  • 2009 New Life with David Prez, Johannes Weidenmuller, and Bill Stewart (Paris Jazz Underground)
  • 2014 Keys with Melanie Dahan, Thomas Bramerie and Lukmil Perez (Backstage)


  • 1989: Fondation de la Vocation Award (France)
  • 1989: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to compose works for string orchestra.
  • 1990: ASCAP Award For Young Composer
  • 2010: FAJE Award (French American Jazz Exchange)


  1. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian. The Penguin guide to jazz on CD. Penguin. p. 38. ISBN 0-14-051521-6. 
  2. ^ "Take Five With Franck Amsallem". All About Jazz. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  3. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian. The Penguin guide to jazz on CD. Penguin. p. 38. ISBN 0-14-051521-6. 
  4. ^ Lindsay, Bruce (2010). "Amsallem Sings". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 

External links[edit]


  • Richard Cook & Brian Morton. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, 8th Edition, London, Penguin, 2006 ISBN 0-14-102327-9
  • John Swenson. Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide, 1999