Franck Amsallem

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Franck Amsallem
Franck Amsallem.jpeg
Background information
Born (1961-10-25) 25 October 1961 (age 55)
Oran, French Algeria
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Composer, bandleader, musician
Instruments Piano, Vocals
Years active 1976–present
Labels Sunnyside, Naïve, Nocturne
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 Nice Jazz Festival. 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 in the documentary La Leçon de Musique as a student of John Lewis. He was awarded a full scholarship to attend the 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 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. He then 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, Gary Bartz, 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] To date, he has recorded a total of 10 albums under his name.

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, where he has collaborated, or recorded with local greats Stephane Belmondo, Elisabeth Kontomanou, and Sara Lazarus. In 2009 he released his first solo piano album.[4] Franck Amsallem Sings Vol. II, his latest release, was released in September 2014. 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, .


As a leader[edit]

As a sideman[edit]


  • 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