He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist. While living in Europe, Jean-Michel toured in forty countries and participated in more than a dozen recordings, as well as many film scores. Jean-Michel moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with Francois Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). Soon, they were performing in most jazz venues in NYC, including: Blue Note, Birdland, Knitting Factory and Sweet Basil. They recorded a one week engagement at Sweet Basil and, in 2000, released 2 CDs Jean-Michel Pilc Trio - Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A-Records) which have received critical acclaim in the US and in Europe.
Then Pilc signed a multirecord deal with Dreyfus Jazz. Pilc's first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home (featuring the same trio), was released beginning of 2002. The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio did a 5 week tour for the release of Welcome Home in 2002, followed by a 4 week fall tour of 7 European countries (including the Rising Stars Tour in Germany, Austria & Switzerland). They have recently performed in numerous festivals & venues around the world. Pilc's next album for Dreyfus, Cardinal Points, was released in 2003. JazzTimes chose the CD as one of Top 50 Picks for Critics Picks 2003, and the album received a four Star "Hot Box" review in Down Beat. Cardinal Points features Jean-Michel's extended work Trio Sonata, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Jean-Michel also got several grants from Meet the Composer, as well as the Django Reinhardt Prize from the French Jazz Academy (in 2000). In 2004, Jean-Michel released his first solo album, Follow Me (Dreyfus). That year he also toured worldwide, performing solo and with his "New Trio", featuring Thomas Bramerie (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums). In addition to his solo & trio engagements, he teaches in clinics and master classes. Jean-Michel and his New Trio have been recorded live at Iridium, NYC, in October 2004. The upcoming live album has been released on Dreyfus in October 2005. As a sideman, he has recently played and recorded with drummer Ari Hoenig (The Painter on Smalls Records), vocalists Elisabeth Kontomanou (The Midnight Sun on Nocturne) and J-D Walter, bassist/vocalist Richard Bona (Scenes from my life on Sony/Columbia), soprano saxist Sam Newsome (latest Palmetto release), and altist Rosario Giuliani (More Than Ever on Dreyfus).
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