MONTREAL-BASED PIANIST TO RELEASE SHEET MUSIC OF ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM IL, OUT NOW VIA ARTS & CRAFTS
"Simply put, Il is a masterpiece." – Exclaim! (9/10)
“...nothing short of stunning… This is music that makes your chest feel tight. It is music that feels like clusters of stars being born and dying. It is music that will persist.” - IMPOSE
“Blais's compositions can be as poignant as they are playful, mixing together accessible melodies with experimental flourishes.” – CBC Music
“...meditative modern classical instrumentals… stark and accessible emotionality” - The Fader
“the blissful eight-tracker captures Blais' penchant for experimentation” - XLR8R
“has the lightness and melodic pop sensibilities of Gonzales's work - pleasing, gentle and brief compositions” - NOW (Album Of The Week)
“...a blindingly bright 28-minute release exploring piano textures” - FACT Mag
“a succinct collection of minimal piano compositions that runs the gamut of human emotions: hope, sadness, joy and fear” -Noisey
PHOTO: ISIS ESSERY
Yesterday, Jean-Michel Blais performed for the audience at the Polaris Music Prize long-list announcement and was furthered honoured with a long-list nomination for his debut album, Il. “It was completely unexpected,” says the Montreal-based pianist. “ I am so glad to be on the list and to have been able to perform in Whitehorse. And to finally have my name beside Bieber and Drake's.”
Now, due to popular demand, Jean-Michel Blais is releasing the sheet music for Il along with a digital download of the album. The sheet music is available to pre-order today via Arts & Crafts.
Blais will also be performing a series of dates throughout the year, including Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto’s Great Hall, and Pretty Good Not Bad Festival this weekend in Victoria. Pre-sale tickets for the Toronto performance on November 19 are available HERE and all performance dates are listed below.
LISTEN TO JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS PERFORM ON CBC q HERE
WATCH JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS PERFORM COMPOSITIONS FROM IL VIA CBC FIRST PLAY LIVE FOR PIANO DAY HERE
Jean-Michel Blais is a 31 year-old pianist from the province of Quebec. His enchanting instrumental compositions pair the melodic pop sensibilities of Ameìlie-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 and improvising on his family’s organ 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
Jun 19 - Victoria, BC - The Atrium (Pretty Good Not Bad Festival)
Jun 30 - Montreal, QC - Le Balcon - 463 St. Catherine St. West (Montreal Jazz Fest)
Jul 1 - Montreal, QC - Le Balcon - 463 St. Catherine St. West (Montreal Jazz Fest)
Oct 15 - Quebec, QC - Palais Montcalm (Salle D’Youville)
Nov 19 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall | Tickets
Dec 2 - Nicolet, QC - Theatre Belcourt
ARTS & CRAFTS