JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS PERFORMS COMPOSITIONS FROM UPCOMING ALBUM IN CELEBRATION OF PIANO DAY
MONTREAL-BASED PIANIST TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM IL VIA ARTS AND CRAFTS ON APRIL 8
BLAIS TO PERFORM LIVE IN TORONTO DURING APRIL RESIDENCY AT THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO BEGINNING APRIL 8 AND IN NEW YORK ON APRIL 28
PHOTO: ISIS ESSERY
In celebration of Nils Frahm’s Piano Day (March 28), Jean-Michel Blais is releasing a mini-concert video produced by CBC Music’s First Play Live. Fans can watch Blais perform five compositions live in studio from his debut album, Il, available April 8 on Arts & Crafts.
Recently, Blais premiered the video for album track “Nostos” (feat. BUFFLO) via Thump, and the title track “Il” courtesy of The Fader. Blais will be performing in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario in April, followed by a performance at The Rockwood Music Hall in New York later that month.
Jean-Michel Blais is a 31 year-old pianist from the province of Quebec. His enchanting instrumental compositions pair the melodic pop sensibilities of Amélie-era Yann Tiersen and Arts & Crafts alumni Chilly Gonzales with the breathtaking technical skill of classical minimalists like Philip Glass and Erik Satie. Il is his debut album of original compositions.
Blais grew up in a rural French Catholic town in Quebec bereft of Culture save for a giant encyclopedia he’d read feverishly as a child. At age 9, Blais began tinkering on his family’s organ, improvising, and at age 11 he started to write original compositions and began taking piano lessons. A natural talent, by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory and began training as a classical pianist. However, Blais was entering the throes of teenage rebellion and found the constraints of formal training a cumbersome rigid structure. Gravitating towards experimentation, Blais wasn’t content to be told how to play, and instructed to not improvise or compose.
A few years later, he attracted the attention of famed playwright and director, Robert Lepage, who introduced Blais to a who’s-who of Quebec’s entertainment industry. With no particular plan for a music career, he quickly took a step back and decided it was time for more explorations.
He moved to Europe in his mid-twenties, living in Berlin, and spent six months in South America. During that time he’d intermittently compose music with long gaps of not even touching a piano. Blais finally settled in Montreal where he rediscovered his love for composing and performing which caught the ear of Arts & Crafts. Written and recorded at home over two years by improvising every day, Jean-Michel Blais’ debut album, Il, is now set to be released.
JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS LIVE
Apr 8, 15 & 22 - Toronto, ON - Art Gallery of Ontario,
Apr 28 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2