Schulich Jazz Area Forum: Jean-Michel Pilc Trio

Friday, November 11, 2022 12:00to14:00
Strathcona Music Building C-304, 555 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1E3, CA
Free Admission

This week, the forum welcomes:


JEAN-MICHEL PILC, piano, with IRA COLEMAN, double bass and RICH IRWIN, drums: "Trio Chemistry and Freedom"


Self-taught pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc has performed with numerous jazz giants including Roy Haynes, Billy Hart, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Rick Margitza, Kenny Werner, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, the Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, Lew Soloff and Richard Bona, among others. He has also worked with Harry Belafonte as his musical director and pianist, and has performed a duet with the legendary opera singer Jessye Norman.


Jean-Michel has built a strong international reputation as a very unique educator. From 2006 to 2015, he was a NYU Steinhardtfaculty member and gave private lessons (piano and other instruments), taught ensemble classes and held improvisation workshops. He also acted as Co-Director of NYU Summer Jazz Workshop in 2010. Jean-Michel also taught for the New School in New York City, as well as offering private lessons in his own studio.

Since September 2015, Jean-Michel has acted as Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal. There, he teaches piano, jazz improvisation to all instruments and a Seminar on Improvisation in All Styles to 30 McGill jazz and classical students. He has acted as Schulich’s Jazz Area Chair between 2016 and 2018. During this time, Jean-Michel has also founded the Improvisation Workshop Project with Rémi Bolduc, Kevin Dean and Jean-Nicolas Trottier, a research project funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC).



Ira Coleman was born in Stockholm, Sweden. Raised in Southern France, Ira thereafter lived in Germany for fourteen years. While in Germany, Ira Coleman studied double bass at Cologne’s Hochschule für Musik and subsequently came a move to the US to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. 

“I have very strong ties to Europe,” says Ira who is fluent in French and German. “My mother was Swedish and a famous silversmith and designer, and my father was a painter and graphic artist from Baltimore. The place to go was Paris. My parents met many expatriate artists, writers and musicians.” Among visitors to Ira’s childhood home were Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Charlie Mingus and Chester Himes. Ira got his inspiration at an early age, though he didn’t actually pick up a bass until he was 19 years old. 

“The bass fits my character,” says Ira, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1985. “In most musical genres the bass is the pivotal center piece, the instrument which provides a discrete and clear foundation, and I enjoy the many challenges its function poses.” 

Ira’s resumé tells the story. Currently residing in Rhinebeck, NY, over the years he has worked with such well-known figures as Cab Calloway, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Milt Jackson, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jessye Norman, Grover Washington Jr., Barbara Hendricks, Sting, Kathleen Battle, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Ensemble, and The Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, among many others. He was musical director for vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and toured with her internationally from 2002 until 2009. 

One night he’s on the stage at Carnegie Hall playing in a tribute to African-American culture. The next morning he is on a plane to Europe to collaborate on a recording or heading to Japan for a jazz festival. As comfortable playing Jamaican rhythms as he is accompanying a gospel choir or performing in a Jazz trio, this professional bass player has built an international reputation for versatility. 



Born in Winchester Ontario, Canada, Richard Irwin was constantly surrounded by music. His father was a multi-instrumentalist and teacher, while his mother, a teacher as well, sang in church with the family. Children's and church choirs were the beginnings of his musical life, and drums and percussion came shortly after. At 11 years old, a school friend invited him over to check out his new kit, and his passion for the instrument began. Noticing that a serious interest had developed, he was sent to learn the fundamentals. Weekly lessons at the Glengarry School of Pipes and Drums taught him every rudiment on the snare, as well as a chance to compete in Scottish events all over North America and Europe at a very early age.

The drum set soon replaced snare competitions, and the Pipe Band was substituted with concert bands, small orchestras, pit bands, and various working bar bands. After high school he went on to study jazz performance at McGill University. Here he performed with dozens of combos, ensembles, and the school's big Bands, where he formed a long lasting relationship with director and trumpeter Ron Dilauro of the Vic Vogel Big Band. Vic needed a drummer, and Ron suggested Rich take over the chair. 15 years later, he continues to play in the band, and has been working in Montreal ever since.

Currently residing in Montreal, Richard plays frequently with Florence K, Julie Lamontagne, Vic Vogel, Dawn Tyler Watson, Al McLean, Jessica Vigneault, Remi Bolduc, the Chateauguay Tenors, Jeff Johnston, Hadrian's Wall, Bill Mahar, Matt Herskowitz, Jean Pierre Zanella, Bruno Pelletier, Dave Gossage, and has toured the world with jazz/pop singer, Nikki Yanofsky. He has performed in venues such as the Blue Note, Dizzy's Club, Catalina's, Ronnie Scott's, the Lincoln Center, L'Olympia, Bell Centre, Air Canada Centre, Saddledome, as well as at major festivals such as the NAMM show, Montreal Drum Fest, the Montreal Jazz Fest, the North Sea Jazz Fest, San Francisco Jazz, the Red Sea Jazz Fest, and many others. He has worked with international artists such as Celine Dion, Freddie Hubbard, Donny McCaslin, Randy Bachman, Denzal Sinclaire, Ingrid Jensen, Gary Smulyan, Jane Bunnet, Yannick Rieux, Paulo Ramos, Kevin Dean, Chucho Valdez, and has shared the stage with dozens of others.


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