Franck Amsallem

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Franck Amsallem
Franck Amsallem.jpeg
Background information
Born (1961-10-25) 25 October 1961 (age 58)
Oran, French Algeria
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Composer, bandleader, musician
InstrumentsPiano, Vocals
Years active1976–present
LabelsSunnyside, Naïve, Nocturne
Associated actsGary Peacock, Bill Stewart
Websitewww.amsallem.com

Franck Amsallem is a French-American jazz pianist, arranger, composer, singer and educator. 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 1981-84, 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. 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).[3] 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 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. He has also served on the grant panel for the French American Jazz Exchange.

Paris[edit]

Amsallem returned to France in 2001, 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, also featuring himself on vocals.[3]

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.

His new quartet featuring Cuban saxophonist Irving Acao just released "Gotham Goodbye" for the jazz&people label, to critical acclaim.

Discography[edit]

An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.

As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1990 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
1998* 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)
2005 A Week in Paris Nocturne 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)

As sideman[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • 1981-1983: Full scholarship from Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres (France) to attend the Berklee College of Music
  • 1983-1984: Full scholarship from Ministere de la Culture (France) to attend the Berklee College of Music
  • 1986-87: Scholarship award to attend the Manhattan School of Music
  • 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)

References[edit]

  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. ^ Lindsay, Bruce (2010). "Amsallem Sings". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-09-08.

External links[edit]

Sources[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