Guests for the “1ère Rencontre autour du Piano” are known

Steve Nuissier, the artistic director of the festival "Première Rencontre autour du Piano" - Photo: Évelyne Chaville

From May 31 to June 7 will be held the 11th edition of the “Festival Première Rencontre autour du Piano” (First Meeting around the Piano). This music festival is organized by the “Gwadloup Groove” association, Steve Nuissier is the artistic director.

1 - Alain Jean-Marie

On May 31, this annual musical event will receive 2 pianists at the Sonis cultural Center in the city of Les Abymes.

It will be first the well-known jazz pianist Alain Jean-Marie who comes from Guadeloupe. The musician discovered this instrument at the age of 8 and never left it. He played in local bands, notably in Robert Mavounzy’s band, before moving to Canada. In 1969, he recorded “Piano Biguines”. Four years later, he settled in Paris to start a career during which he had the opportunity to accompany great jazz musicians such as Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin etc. In 1992, he recorded “Biguines Reflections”. He never forgot his island because he continued to produce a Caribbean-style jazz.

2 - Franck Amsallem

This opening night will continue with Franck Amsallem‘s performance. Born in Algeria, his family will move to Nice. He began playing the piano at home before enrolling in the conservatory of the city. Unfortunately, they thought he was too old to take up the piano so he decided to study classical saxophone and got a first prize. He worked a lot in Monte Carlo and then he went to the USA. In 1981, he enrolled in Berklee College in Boston. There, for three years he learned writing and the running of a big orchestra in the Herb Pomeroy Big Band, he also won several awards. He enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music in New York to resume his studies of composition and classical piano – that musical instrument he had never forgotten – with Phil Kawin.

3 - Laurent Courthaliac

On June 1, Laurent Courthaliac will be on stage at the Sonis cultural Center. He is from Puy en Velay in France and he discovered the piano all by himself, then he wanted to improve his musical knowledge so he enrolled at the Conservatoire de Lyon; when he graduated in 1994, he won a medal. He performed in the region with many musicians such as Steve Grossman, Serge Lazarévich, Yannick Rieu and Charles Bellonzi. He joined the Collectif Mû with which he won the 1st prize of Jazz in Vienna in 1995 and the 1st prize of Jazz in La Défense in 1996. Since 1998, he settled in the French capital where he had the opportunity to accompany several great jazzmen. He also performed in various groups.

4 - Manuel Rocheman

Three days later, on June 4, two more guests – Manuel Rocheman and Pierre de Bethmann – will also perform on stage at the Sonis cultural Center.

Manuel Rocheman comes from Paris. He is a talented and refined pianist who was considered Martial Solal’s successor, this famous jazz pianist, composer and band leader born in Algeria en 1927. He was first influenced by Oscar Peterson, he studied jazz with Michel Sardaby, when he was a teenager, he met in New York, Tommy Flanagan and Jaki Byard and he listened to the trios with Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Tete Montoliu and Chick Corea. His name appears on several albums and he already won several awards and distinctions. He knows the Latin American sounds since he recorded “Café y Alegría” in Brazil with the famous guitarist and composer, Toninho Horta.

5 - Pierre de Bethmann

The second concert of the evening will be given by Pierre de Bethmann who also comes from Paris. In 1987, he graduated from ESCP and, two years later, he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for one year. After working five years in management, he decided to become a musician in 1995. He was the co-leader of the trio called “Prysm” with which he recorded four albums for Blue Note between from 1994 to 2001 and did several tours in France and the USA. Today, he conducts the “Medium Ensemble” and forms a trio with Sylvain Romano and Tony Rabeson.

6 - Laurent Coq & R. Lavital

The next day, on June 5, piano lovers will go to the George Tarer Hall at Lauricisque in Pointe-à-Pitre to discover Laurent Coq and R. Lavital.

Considered a virtuoso, Laurent Coq also comes from France. He started to study the piano at the age of 7 and then joined the Conservatoire National de Musique in Aix-en-Provence where he stayed for three years. In 1988, he went to Paris to learn jazz at the Centre d’informations musicales. After, he performed on stage and recorded albums. In 1994, he went to New York. In 2001, he founded the “Laurent Coq Blowing Trio” with a pianist (him) and two saxophonists (Olivier Zanot and David El Malek). The group released two albums.

7 - Pierre Christophe

The Festival will continue on June 6 at the Félix Proto sociocultural Complex in Les Abymes where Pierre Christophe will perform. This musician who is from the city of Bourges took jazz piano and classical piano classes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Marseilles where he got a gold medal in 1991. From 1992 to 1994, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he obtained a Bachelor of Music. For thirty years, he has been performing with many artists such as James Spaulding, Frank Morgan, Butch Warren, Lew Tabackin, Ricky Ford, Pete Christlieb, Warren Vache, Géraldine Laurent, Michel Pastre, Gérard Badin etc. He recorded thirty records and played on prestigious stages in France and abroad.

8 - Grégory Privat

This 11th edition of the “Première Rencontre autour du Piano” festival will close, on June 7, at the Milénis shopping centre with Grégory Privat. Born in Martinique, this musician started taking private piano lessons at age 6; for ten years, he will study classical piano before specializing in jazz. In Toulouse, where he went to school for engineering, he continued to perform in clubs with small bands. After graduating, he went to Paris and, for a year, he performed with “TrioKa”, a band that mixes ka drum and jazz. He already recorded 3 albums.

9 - Festival Première Rencontre autour du Piano 2019