Jean-Michel Pilc

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Jean-Michel Pilc
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson
Background information
Born 1960
Paris, France
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Labels Motéma Music
Associated acts Pilc Moutin Hoenig

Jean-Michel Pilc (born 1960 in Paris, France) is a self-taught jazz pianist[1] currently residing in New York. His technical ability has drawn comparisons to Michel Petrucciani, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor.[citation needed] Of particular note is Pilc's left-hand technique, which provides an almost ambidextrous approach to the keyboard.[citation needed] In addition to his own projects, he is a member of a group led by drummer Ari Hoenig.

Biography and musical career[edit]

Pilc has played with Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Rick Margitza, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Lew Soloff and Richard Bona. He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist.

While living in Europe, Pilc toured in forty countries and participated in more than a dozen recordings, as well as one film score.

Pilc moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with François 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 the 2-CD Jean-Michel Pilc Trio - Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A-Records), which received critical acclaim in the US and in Europe. Then Pilc signed a multi-record deal with Dreyfus Jazz. Pilc's first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home (featuring the same trio), was released at the beginning of 2002.

The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio did a 5-week tour for the release of Welcome Home in 2002, followed by a 4-week fall tour of seven European countries (including the Rising Stars Tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland). They have recently performed in numerous festivals and venues around the world.

Pilc's next album for Dreyfus, Cardinal Points, was released in 2003. JazzTimes chose the CD as one of its Top 50 Picks for Critics Picks 2003, and the album received a four-star "Hot Box" review in Down Beat.[citation needed]

Cardinal Points features Pilc's extended work "Trio Sonata", funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Pilc also got several grants from Meet the Composer, as well as the Django Reinhardt Prize from the French Jazz Academy (in 2000).

In 2004, Pilc released his first solo album, Follow Me (Dreyfus). That year he also toured worldwide, performing solo and with his New Trio, featuring Thomas Bramerie (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums). In addition to his solo and trio engagements, he teaches in clinics and master classes.

Pilc and his New Trio were recorded live at Iridium Jazz Club, NYC, in October 2004. The resulting live album was released on Dreyfus in October 2005. He also released New Dreams with this trio in 2007, also on the Dreyfus label.

As a sideman, he has recently played and recorded with drummer Ari Hoenig (The Painter on Smalls Records), vocalists Elisabeth Kontomanou (The Midnight Sun on Nocturne) and J-D Walter, bassist/vocalist Richard Bona (Scenes from my Life on Sony/Columbia), soprano saxist Sam Newsome (latest Palmetto release), and altist Rosario Giuliani (More Than Ever on Dreyfus).

In 2011, Pilc's trio reunited Pilc Moutin Hoenig and signed with Motéma to record a comeback project.[2] He released his newest album, titled Essential, on the Motéma Music label in May, 2011.

He is now an Associate Professor of Jazz at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, QC, Canada


  1. ^ Ratliff, Ben (28 January 1998). "JAZZ REVIEW; Forget New York Cool: Let's Get Whimsical". The New York Times. p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  2. ^

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