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Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio: Washington, D.C. May 17, 2011

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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, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: True Story

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: True Story

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: True Story

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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 ...

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Jean-Michel Pilc: A Portrait & True Story

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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 ...

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Jean-Michel Pilc Trio at the Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: New Dreams

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio at The Jazz Standard, NYC

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The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio at the Jazz StandardThe Jazz StandardNew York City, New YorkOctober 3, 2007 The very air crackled as pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, with his long-time compatriot, drummer Ari Hoenig and bassist Christopher Tordini tore through a set in the way only Pilc can. Having just come out with a new album, New Dreams (Dreyfus, 2007), the pianist devoted part of the set to tunes from that album. However, since the album is, for the most part, on the more reflective, understated and introspective side, the set also had much ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: New Dreams

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Like a master builder, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc constructs and reconstructs, but instead of fixed or stable edifices his creations are more like castles in the air. All the better. There's nothing stiff or rigid about what he makes through his playing and composing so there's room for listeners to breathe as they explore these new spaces with him. If all this sounds a bit strange, just listen to New Dreams. Move along with him note to note, moment to moment. Trust. If you have the ears for it, you will find this time well spent. It's pure ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Day 10 - Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, July 7, 2006

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

As the Montreal Jazz Festival has continued to grow in size, one of the problems it has faced is finding enough suitable indoor venues to accommodate the growing number of series that are still within walking distance from the core of the festival, which is at the city's Place des Arts. The Suono Italia series, for example, takes place at Cabaret, a small club that's a good fifteen ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: Live At Iridium, New York

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If you have heard Jean-Michel Pilc live or on record, you will know that Live At Iridium, New York may bring goosebumps. Together, the tracks represent an excellent splicing job of tunes from sets over three nights in October 2004 to make up what sounds like one set. The record will almost certainly make you say, “Man, I wish I had been there! The energy of the trio is amazing and so is the stamina on display, but ultimately the most impressive thing is the strong individual and group musicianship. Immediately from the outset of Pilc's “No ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: Live at Iridium, New York

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French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc has composed some attractive music in his decade in New York, and he is a dynamic improviser as well. On Live at Iridium, New York, recorded in the fall of 2004, the latter quality is most prominent. Live at Iridium is the first recording featuring Pilc's new trio with bassist Thomas Bramerie and the thundering drummer Mark Mondesir. The first half of the record is largely a showcase for a suite of Thelonious Monk pieces which are substantially deconstructed by Pilc. The essential, identifiable elements of “Jackie-ing and “Green Chimneys are present (along ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio at The Jazz Bakery

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The Jazz Bakery Los Angeles, California March 18, 2005

One influential factor in the winning formula that pianist Jean-Michel Pilc has adopted for his modern mainstream trio is the eye to eye contact that the threesome utilizes continuously. Drummer Tony Moreno had set up his kit so that he faced the pianist throughout the evening. Similarly, bassist Darek Oles positioned himself so that he could maintain eye contact for their Jazz Bakery concert set. With this little secret in hand, the trio proceeded to explore familiar music and one daring original composition with authority. Their impressive ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: Follow Me

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Given the Francophobia that has reared its ugly head in American politics over the last few years, it's a relief to see that Stateside jazz fans, at least, are still open to the contributions of European practitioners of the art form. So, for instance, Jean-Michel Pilc's latest CD, the somewhat generically named Follow Me , has been getting great reviews here in the States. And why shouldn't it? A former scientist, Pilc plays with a precision that in places is reminiscent of Bill Evans or Oscar Peterson. More importantly (and also like Evans and Peterson) he avoids sounding dry or ...



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