Laurent Coulondre was celebrated as the discovery in the Jazz category of the French Ministry of Culture. The “Victoire de la Musique”is the biggest award to be won in this category in France. Coulondre embodies this new generation in jazz, in which there is no pigeonhole thinking. The focus is on the sound, which is humorously realized through refreshing new composition and arrangement ideas, and a good portion of playful lightness. With his new “Keys & Drums!” duo, Coulondre brings together the best French drummers, with whom he captured this magical attraction on CD.
Laurent Coulondre was born in Nîmes (France) in 1989. At 4 years old, he began playing drums and soon acquired a sense of rhythm that would never leave him. A few years later he took up playing the piano.
When Laurent turned 9, he discovered jazz with the pianist Stéphane Kochoyan and performed with the local big band opening for big names such as Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau or Michel Legrand.
In 2010, he graduated from the National Conservatory of Toulouse with a Jazz DEM with a bachelor in Musicology from Toulouse University. During these years of training, he stayed in Spain through Erasmus, where he studied at the Superior Conservatory of Catalonia and developed a passion for organ playing. He also deepened his experience with Jazz in Marciac Orchestra. Laurent recorded his first album « Opus I » and launched himself with his trio onto the road of music competitions. He is a Soloist First Prize and Winner of the Didier Lockwood European Contest, Winner of the Jazz in Castello and Jazz en Baie Competition. The same year he discovered and experienced the life of Parisian jazzmen and recorded his second album « Opus II » in 2013. Gradually recognized by the jazz community, he was called upon to play and record as a sideman with musicians such as Paul Jackson, Nicolas Folmer, Sylvain Beuf, Stéphane Huchard, Pierre de Bethmann…
In 2014 he embarked on a new recording project, developing a new and original concept of reversible trio in which he presents himself performing at the piano as well as the organ. The trio won the National Jazz à la Defense Competition. In addition, Laurent was voted Spedidam Generation Artist, Adami Jazz Talent and also Sacem Prizewinner. That same year, the album « Schizophrenia » was released on Sound Surveyor, which propelled the trio onto the stages of major jazz festivals, for example opening for Sting at Jazz in Vienne, Jazz in Marciac, at l’Olympia opening for Lisa Simone, Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Paris Jazz Festival (FR) but also in Tokyo Jazz (JP), London Jazz (UK)…
In 2016, as winner of the prestigious « Best New Artist Award » at « Les Victoires de la Musique » (the French Grammy Awards) and also prizewinner of the Lagardère Foundation, Laurent kept playing in major venues such as the Cully Jazz (CH), Amersfoort Jazz (NL), Getxo Jazz (ES), Jazz sous les pommiers (FR), Elbjazz Festival (DE), Jazz a la pedrera (ES), IF Alger (DZ)…
In 2017, our renowned keyboardist summoned the best French drummers (André Ceccarelli, Martin Wangermée, Yoann Serra and Cyril Atef) for explosive duos, Keys & Drums, around a new album « Gravity Zero », released on Sound Surveyor. From then on, concerts would follow one after another at a frantic pace both nationally (Jazz à Ramatuelle, Monaco Jazz Festival, Jazz à St Germain des prés, Jazz à Junas…) and internationally (Small Jazz Club (NY), Toronto Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Rimouski Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival (CA), London Jazz Festival (UK), Winter Jazz Fest (US), North Sea Jazz (NL), So What’s Next (NL), Moods (CH), on tour in China (CN) and Taiwan (TW)).
In 2019, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Michel Petrucciani’s death, Laurent paid tribute to an artist whose impact on his career was one of the deepest and most influential. He teamed up with Jérémy Bruyère (bass and double bass) and André Ceccarelli (drums) to revive the repertoire of the pianist with glass bones on his new album « Michel on My Mind » (released on 23/08/2019 by New World Production/L’autre Distribution). A long tour followed for the Trio, flying from nationally renowned venues and festivals (Festival Jazz à Saint Germain, Maisons Laffitte Jazz Festival, Festival Jazz au fil de l’Oise, Nîmes Métropole Jazz Festival, Jazz au Phare, Festival Au grès du Jazz, Jazz à Clamart, Sceaux What, Salle Pleyel…) to international ones (Tokyo Jazz Festival (JP)…).
In 2020, honored with « Victoire du Jazz », one of the greatest accolades for a jazzmusician, Laurent Coulondre was awarded the « Disque français de l’année » by the Académie du Jazz for his album « Michel on My Mind ». He was featured on the cover of Jazz Magazine when he topped the « French Musician of the Year category » of the magazine’s Annual Critics Poll in February 2020. He has also received valuable support from the BNP Paribas Foundation for the development of his artistic projects.
(Translation by Yann Lapivotte)
The spearhead of a new French jazz generation!
Laurent Coulondre was hailed as the discovery in the Jazz category of the French Ministry of Culture. The “Victoire de la Musique” in this category is the biggest award to be won in France. Coulondre embodies this new generation of jazz, in which there is no pigeonhole thinking. The focus is on the sound, which is humorously realized through refreshing new composition and arrangement ideas, and a good portion of playful lightness. With his new “Keys & Drums!” duo, Coulondre brings together the best French drummers, with whom he captured this magical attraction on CD.
And he remains true to himself. On his keyboards, everything happens simultaneously – both hands, both feet, even his whole body are at the service of the music he creates together with his fellow musicians. With its interlaced grooves, the intention of this music quickly becomes clear: it is about creating permanent rhythmic illusions, quasi a musical trompe-l’œil – can you trust your own ears?
His playing never follows mathematical logic, but his own exciting musical means of expression, which – with all its incredible virtuosity – wants to share its almost childlike fun of making music with its listeners.
For Coulondre, music (and life?) is a great adventure playground with plenty of room for experimentation. This also includes encounters and collaborations with the best musicians that his home country, France, currently has to offer. Coulondre works with Martin Wangermée, who is as loyal as he is brilliant, and with the great rhythm poet André Ceccarelli. Yoann Serra gives a unique touch to the whole thing with his virtuoso and supple playing, while Cyril Atef is the troublemaker and never tires of pushing the pieces in ever new directions with his ideas.
Opposite them sits Coulondre, suggesting, driving, pulsating, and never at a loss for words to answer musically witty to the ideas of his colleagues. His work is sometimes reminiscent of an image set to music by M. C. Escher, of a musical labyrinth. Whenever you think you have found the right way, you realize that you are somewhere else – in the middle of a sea perhaps, or in one of the many other (musical) landscapes that can be explored on this record.
How could one describe Coulondre’s music? Jazz? Yes! Rock? That too. Jazz-Rock? European jazz? Why not? Is it groovy? Sure, but he’s more than that. After all, he is a man of his time, and categorization lies in the eye of the beholder – the result could well be somewhere between Chick Corea, Eddy Louis, D’Angelo, Snarky Puppy and others. As Alfred de Musset once said: “What matters the flask, if drunkenness is within?”