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Franck Amsallem

Franck Amsallem was born in 1961 in Oran (Algeria), and then grew up in Nice, France. His parents, having repatriated the family piano, started him on classical piano at seven, which he gave up a few years later. The large family, the cramped apartment weren’t at all propitious surroundings for the old teacher’s stale lessons. Still, however, the family owned a large collection of 45 RPM records where Ray Charles mixed with Glenn Miller and the Four Tops. In all logic then, he was seduced in adolescence, by the sound of the blues and swing and started taking music lessons at the Nice Conservatory where, considered too old for the piano (!), he signed up for classical saxophone and soon earned a first prize.

But the piano remained his first love. Soon the news spread on the Cote d’Azur, and he worked in Monte Carlo, learning hundreds or maybe thousands of jazz standards, "I have always, above all, loved all American music," and in 1979, at 17 years of age, John Lewis chose him to be his student for a French documentary "La leçon de musique". Having jammed offstage at the Nice jazz festival with Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Brecker, Arnie Lawrence and Richie Cole, he was then encouraged to move to the USA to hone his skills and learn. He made the move without a blink and entered Berklee College in 1981. "At 19, I did not see myself backing up pop singers in Paris and playing jazz on the side, which was what everyone was doing then. Like the song says, it was All or Nothing at All."

Franck stayed three years in Boston and earned numerous awards, performing in Herb Pomeroy’s big band and attending his composition and arranging classes. Still the longing for more excitement was always there and at the beginning of 1986, he moved to New York City.

"There are many good pianists out there, but good pianists who are equally good composers


Album Review

Franck Amsallem: Amsallem Sings

Read "Amsallem Sings" reviewed by Luca Muchetti

Da leggere in perfetta continuità con il più recente Volume II, pubblicato nel 2014, Amsallem Sings è l'album di debutto come cantante del pianista Franck Amsallem. Musicista francese di lungo corso e dalle origini algerine, sceglie di utilizzare per la prima volta la voce nel modo probabilmente più ambizioso, intimo e fascinoso: accompagnandosi col solo pianoforte (diversamente dal secondo album, dove sceglierà di registrare in trio). Amsallem Sings è una magnifica prova di stile. Dal punto di ...

Album Review

Franck Amsallem: Amsallem Sings

Read "Amsallem Sings" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Thirty years into a career which has seen Algerian-born Frank Amsallem playing piano with musicians as diverse as Joshua Redman, Gary Peacock and Danny Gatton, Amsallem Sings is his debut recording as a vocalist. It's a solo album--Amsallem accompanies himself on piano, without the support of any other players, so that the album stands or falls by his performance alone. The album oozes charm, the selection of vocal standards is given a fresh and very personal perspective and the result ...

Take Five With...

Take Five With Franck Amsallem

Read "Take Five With Franck Amsallem" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Franck Amsallem: Mickey Mac: Franck Amsallem has been a professional pianist and composer for over 30 years. As a leader he has released seven cds, all of which have received rare critical acclaim. His sideman credits have included some of the great names in jazz: Gerry Mulligan, Charles Lloyd, Gary Bartz, Sonny Fortune, Bobby Watson, Jerry Bergonzi, Rick Margitza, Tim Ries, Joe Chambers, Maria Schneider, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Harry Belafonte. He has played many venues throughout the ...


Franck Amsallem Waits for His Time

Read "Franck Amsallem Waits for His Time" reviewed by Eric J. Iannelli

The liner notes to Franck Amsallem's newest record say it all. Summer Times is the French pianist's excursion into a more commercial, more accessible sound. Full stop. End of story. Of course you could finish there, but you wouldn't want to. Amsallem has a lot to say at this point in his career. For him it's a time of significant changes – beginnings and endings, upheaval and settling. He's 42 years old. He's recently remarried. It's not ...

Album Review

Franck Amsallem: Summer Times

Read "Summer Times" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Pianist Franck Amsallem's seventh record comes from a familiar angle, exploring the range of possibilities within a traditional jazz group. His sophisticated attitude toward the music gives it a rarified cosmopolitan feel, but that's only a mask for the quiet passion that lurks within. In this particular case he leads a trio and combines original material with standards, each tune coming in at a polite range from five to nine minutes in length.

It's impressive that Sunnyside managed to misspell ...

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First and foremost, a formidable pianist, and an equally formidable composer. (Martial Solal / France Musique)

Like Martial Solal, he has acquired an immense musical culture. Performing his own compositions, Amsallem convinced us that he is the most original pianist France has produced since Michel Petrucciani. (Jean-Marie Hacquier/ Jazz-Hot)

Amsallem's bold, brightly colored interpretations are unique. His perspective on Strayhorn is highly percussive, subtly dissonant and entirely unsentimental. What gives the album unity is the common denominator of Amsallem and his strong, forthright pianistic personality. (Thomas Conrad "Jazztimes")

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Advanced only


techer in demand at most advanced music schools in Paris: _The American School _The CRR 8e arrondissement _The CRR 9e arrondissement _The CNSM and many clinics while on tour

Clinic/Workshop Information

Lectures on improvisation & composition, on composition as a tool for improvisation _Develloping your own voice. _Small & Large ensemble (big band) coaching. Piano masterclasses. Topics include: _Building, consolidating or refining a piano technique, comping, vocal accompanying, rhythm section

Michael Fox



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Summer Times



Is That So?

Disques Dreyfus


Amsallem Sings

Self Produced




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