Born in 1960 in Paris, and now an American citizen, self-taught, Jean-Michel Pilc has performed with numerous giants in the music field such as: Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Rick Margitza, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, Lew Soloff and Richard Bona. He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist.
Jean-Michel Pilc moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). They recorded a one-week engagement at the legendary jazz club Sweet Basil and, in 2000, released two CDs: Jean-Michel Pilc Trio - Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A- Records).
Pilc then signed a record deal with Dreyfus Jazz. Pilc's first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home (featuring the same trio), was released in 2002.
Pilc's next recording for Dreyfus, Cardinal Points, was released the following year. It featured Jean-Michel's extended work Trio Sonata, which was created with generous support from Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
In 2004, Jean- Michel released his first solo album, Follow Me (Dreyfus). Jean-Michel Pilc then went back to trio format to record Live at Iridium, NYC, in 2004, New Dreams in 2006,and True Story in 2009, all three for Dreyfus Jazz.
There is also a documentary out by John McCormick about Jean-Michel titled “Jean-Michel Pilc – A Portrait” which was released in the US in 2009.
In 2009 Pilc received his second New Works: Creation and Presentation Grant from Chamber Music America. His new project has been the writing and performance of “Modern Lights” – a composition reflecting Charlie Chaplin’s work, and the inspiration Pilc has gained from his movies. The project was premiered at the Caramoor Jazz Festival in August 2009.
Since 2006, he is a NYU Steinhardt faculty member. There, he is giving private lessons (piano and other instruments), ensemble classes and improvisation workshops. He was also co-director of NYU Summer Jazz Improv Workshop in 2010. Jean-Michel is also teaching for the New School in NYC, as well as privately.
Pilc is also currently working on a pedagogical book and on educational videos about jazz, improvisation and piano playing.
Pilc’s next albums will be released on the Motema label, one solo live and one featuring his legendary trio with François Moutin & Ari Hoenig, which has re-formed in 2010 under the collective name Pilc Moutin Hoenig.
Finally, a number of new projects are in the works: Whistle Band, featuring his virtuoso piano playing and whistling (documented on a solo piano & whistle track in the CD “Christmas from the Blue Note” released in 2010 on the "Half Note" label), Re-Evolution, a special project featuring Richard Bona on bass, and Kiddy Jazz, a project bringing jazz to children.