5 Minutes With Jean-Michel Pilc

Your bio (online) doesn’t say much about how you started in music other than the fact that you were ‘self-taught’. Could you please elaborate on that?

I got exposed to music at a very young age from my family. They were listening to lots of records. Jazz or classical it didn’t make a difference. They just loved great music. I heard those recordings and discovered music the natural way, which was hearing, When I was 6 or 7 I started playing piano but I already had those music in my mind. I wanted to imitate it. I wanted to make music as beautiful as the ones I’ve discovered as a child.

You have over 10 albums under your belt. If you have to pick one, which would it be and why?

I couldn’t do that. You can’t really classify music. It’s like asking me to pick one of my kids. I love them all and like them in different ways. It’s impossible to answer that question.

You came to New York, leaving France behind. Why New York?

I don’t know. I just do things the way I feel them. At some point I just felt like I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in one place. It’s a bit boring. So I went to New York, since I was a jazz musician, it felt like the right thing to do. I liked it over there. It felt good. I went back to Paris and I felt like it wasn’t the place for me anymore, so I followed my instincts and settled in New York. Sometimes you don’t need a reason to do things. You just do them because you feel like doing them.

What do you think distinguishes you in comparison to your peers?

That’s not for me to say. That’s the job of critics. I don’t even know if there’s something that distinguishes me. I think every artiste is unique. I hope that I’m interesting enough to be unique. I couldn’t possibly answer that.

What can we expect from your trio performance with Wei Xiang and John Thomas?

Expectations are a bad thing. It goes against being spontaneous. You should just expect music. It’s important to go to a concert as fresh as possible. Let the music do the talking. People should just sit down, enjoy and the music will decide what happens.

Why NBT?

Because they invited me. Simple. After playing here, I like the place. The acoustics are beautiful. There’s a natural vibe and you feel like you’re part of the family here. That’s very important. It’s been a great experience so far.

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