|Born||16 February 1949|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboards, composer, arranger|
|Associated acts||Michel Herr & Life Lines, The Michel Herr European Quintet, Unexpected Encounters, Michel Herr Trio, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra|
Michel Herr (born 16 February 1949, Brussels) is a Belgian pianist, composer and arranger active in the fields of jazz and film music. Since the seventies he has been active on the European Jazz scene. He appeared on numerous jazz albums as a pianist and arranger.
Since 1984, he regularly played piano and keyboards with harmonica player Toots Thielemans. He performed with him throughout the world (Europe, Japan, Africa, U.S.), played many major festivals and participated in many records, TV shows and film soundtracks.
Michel Herr had the opportunity to play with great American musicians like Joe Lovano, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin, Pepper Adams, Bill Frisell, as well as many top European musicians, such as Palle Mikkelborg, Riccardo Del Fra, Palle Danielsson, Richard Galliano and the best Belgian musicians: Philip Catherine, Steve Houben, Bert Joris and others.
He led several bands, from the trio to the big band, a.o. a European quintet with Wolfgang Engstfeld (sax) and Bert Joris (tp), a nonet named "Life Lines", etc... in which he presented his compositions. He wrote for numerous jazz ensembles, including WDR Big Band, ACT big Band, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra (a.o. with singer David Linx, and the Metropole Orchestra (NL).
2008 sees the release of a double album of his big band compositions with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, "The Music of Michel Herr".
Other major achievements as an arranger:
• The album "Crush" : 6 arrangements for the Metropole Orchestra on the music of Ivan Paduart (2010)
• "Colors of Time" : 13 arrangements on music by Thierry Lang, lyrics by David Linx, performed by 5 jazzmen, a choir and a string ensemble (2012).
In 2013, he writes big band charts for trombonist Phil Abraham, string arrangements for saxophonist Steve Houben, orchestra arrangements for saxophonist Fabrice Alleman and the Hanoi Philharmonic.
In 2014, he writes arrangements for the project "An American songbook", with Steve Houben (sax), Julie Mossay (classical soprano), the Nathalie Loriers trio and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie (strings). The same year, on the occasion of the Adolphe Sax year, he writes a series of jazz arrangements for 5 saxes and trio.
In 2016, he writes string arrangements for guitarist Philip Catherine and "The String Project" (the album receives an Echo Jazz Award in Germany). Arrangements for big bands, for the saxophonist Fabrice Alleman and chamber orchestra.
He is also active in the field of film music, composed the score for Just Friends.
Albums as a leader or co-leader
- Solis Lacus (1975)
- Ouverture éclair (1977) (Michel Herr Trio)
- Perspective (1978) (with Wolfgang Engstfeld)
- Good buddies (1979) (with Bill Frisell)
- Continuous flow (1980) (Engstfeld / Herr / Danielsson / Lowe)
- Short stories (1982) (with Wolfgang Engstfeld)
- Intuitions (1989) (trio)
- Meet Curtis Lundy & Kenny Washington (Steve Houben & Michel Herr) (1983)
- Just friends (Michel Herr & Archie Shepp)(1993) (movie soundtrack)
- Notes of life (1998) (Quintet)
- A tribute to Belgian Jazz (1998)
- The Music of Michel Herr (with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra) (2008)
- Jazz Olympics (1 track in tentet with Michel & Life Lines) (2008)
Albums as a piano player, composer, arranger, etc...
- Dom Rocket (Gijs Hendriks Quartet) (1979)
- Remembering Bobby Jaspar and Rene Thomas (Saxo 1000) (1980)
- Act Big Band (1981)
- Steve Houben + strings (1982)
- Soon spring (John Ruocco) (1983)
- Your precious love (Toots Thielemans) (1984)
- Sweet seventina (Bert Joris) (1985)
- Transparence (Philip Catherine) (1986)
- Solid Steps (Joe Lovano) (1986)
- Extremes (Act Big Band and guests) (1987)
- Bim bim (Bruno Castellucci) (1987)
- Take it from the top (Denise Jannah) (1991)
- Loop the loop (Fabrice Alleman Quartet) (1993)
- En public (Phil Abraham Quartet) (1997)
- The live takes (Toots Thielemans) (1999)
- Restless (Jean-Pierre Catoul / Peter Hertmans) (1999)
- Sides of Life (Fabrice Alleman) (2004)
- Changing Faces (1 track feat. David Linx / Brussels Jazz Orchestra) (2007)
- Jazz Olympics (1 track feat. David Linx / Brussels Jazz Orchestra) (2008)
- Let me hear a simple song (Radoni's Tribe / Arranger) (2009)
- Crush (Ivan Paduart & the Metropole Orchestra/ Arranger) (2010)
- Colors of Time (Thierry Lang & David Linx/ Arranger) (2013)
- The string project (Philip Catherine/ Arranger) (2016)
As a composer, arranger for movies
- Le Scoop (Jean-Louis Colmant) (1977) (TV)
- La Mésaventure (Freddy Charles) (1980) (TV)
- Les Fugitifs (Freddy Charles) (1981) (TV)
- San Francisco (Freddy Charles) (1982) (TV)
- Les Magiciens du mercredi (Freddy Charles) (1984) (TV)
- Just Friends (Marc-Henri Wajnberg) (1993)
- Éclats de famille (Didier Grousset) (1994) (TV)
- Les Monos / Le responsable (Didier Grousset) (1999) (TV)
- Le Coup du lapin (Didier Grousset) (2000) (TV)
- Odette Toulemonde (Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt) (Nicola Piovani) (arranger/orchestrator of Joséphine Baker songs) (2007)
- Un crime très populaire (Didier Grousset) (2007) (TV)