Jean-Michel Pilc / Ari Hoenig / François Moutin May 17, 20011 Blues Alley Washington, D.C. Tumultuous, unpredictable, vibrant with variegated rhythms and tempos, shimmering with torrents of sound and spiraling tendrils of color, the Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio's recent performance at Blues Alley proceeded less like an unveiling and more like the exploding of a star--the event emitting a creative shock wave of force, overlapping forms, light, darkness, expanding and contracting space. The resonating artistic experience created by the Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio is not the product of a carefully constructed composition, ...read more
There are few pianists in any realm of music as expressive, and with such extraordinary touch and dynamics, as Jean-Michel Pilc. He is also so enormously inventive that he might be perhaps one of very, very few pianists to inhabit the same rarefied atmosphere as Bill Evans. And that is only half the story. To Pilc, the piano is not another instrument; it is an extension of the human voice. It whispers sensuously and provocatively, babbling on with excited chatter like a child that has recently discovered human speech. It entices, cajoles, even using hypnotic tones and terms of endearment ...read more
Jean-Michel Pilc has yet to achieve a US prominence that compares to his fellow French jazz pianists, the late Michel Petrucciani and Algerian-born Martial Solal. While both of the latter musicians are frequently cited for their lightning-fast delivery, Pilc shares their agility as well as a finely honed ear for lyricism. But ultimately, Pilc is a different kind of player, interpreter and personality. He counters his own expressive side with a particular state of off-kilter playing that doesn't necessarily allow for mere contentment. Good for him, and for others who don't believe a jazz composition needs to be applicable to ...read more
Paris-born pianist Jean-Michel Pilc continues his impressive series of Dreyfus Jazz releases with True Story, his first album since 2006's New Dreams and the debut effort for his exciting new trio featuring respected veteran drummer Billy Hart and talented Russian-born bassist Boris Kozlov. The 49-year-old Pilc, a resident of New York for the past 15 years, is a self-taught musician whose varied experience includes playing with masters like Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman, among many others, as well as a stint as musical director and pianist for Harry Belafonte. He is a cerebral, yet deeply passionate artist, whose ...read more
If pianist Jean-Michel Pilc hadn't become a musician, he might have had a brilliant career as a philosopher or historian. Throughout John McCormick's film, Jean-Michel Pilc: A Portrait, which highlights Pilc's music and his thoughts on music and art, Pilc doles out grains of truth that are brilliant in their simplicity and speak directly to his manner of performing and composing. Pilc explains that he has never drawn a distinction between different styles or labels, like classical" or jazz," and he offers up the thought that a composer is actually an improviser-of-sorts.
While plenty of people pay lip ...read more
Jean-Michel Pilc TrioDouglas Beach HouseHalf Moon Bay, CaliforniaJanuary 25, 2009
Jean-Michel Pilc's fingers popped over the keyboard with an opening ferocity that awoke the Sunday audience, as though he were defying the listener not to be impressed by his piano style. He tends to put his whole body into playing, drawing from the piano a crystalline clarity that not many pianists can bring forth from the keys. More often than not, Pilc laced the tunes with ample, playful and exuberant improvisation, inviting the audience to join him in the adventure of creating the music in ...read more
From the first notes of the opening tune But Not For Me" on the wonderful New Dreams, you know that pianist Jean-Michel Pilc is a master improviser. What he does goes way, way beyond the changes and involves getting at the most essential kernel of the tune. Finding it, he can mutate it in countless ways because he knows that we can hear its connection to the tune, all the while holding our mental breaths as he darts away from it, until we exhale when he comes back. Another effect that is naturally derived from Pilc's method ...read more
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