(The Complete Sessions)
101. Portrait in black and white [4:36]
102. L'ile aux cygnes [2:16]
103. Central Park West [3:23]
104. Broken wing [3:33]
105. Search for peace [6:47]
106. Funk in deep freeze [3:26]
107. Aicha [5:38]
108. A child is born [4:35]
109. All in love is fair [3:47]
110. Wayne's way [6:10]
111. For tomorrow [5:57]
112. Bill's heart [2:37]
113. My foolish heart [5:50]
201. Estate [5:02]
202. Naima [2:36]
203. Happier in a morning sun [4:13]
204. Gottingen [1:32]
205. Un jour tu verras [2:23]
206. Cavatina BO the deer hunter [3:03]
207. Spleen [6:26]
Eric Le Lann
Riccardo del Fra
Michel Graillier was a French jazz pianist, born 18 October 1946 in Lens (Pas-de-Calais), died 11 February 2003 in Paris.
From four to eighteen years of age, Michel Graillier studied classical piano in Lens. During adolescence, he appeared on the scene for the first time as a drummer with the amateur yéyé group, Les Chaps ("The Guys").
After some preparatory classes, he enrolled at the ISEN in Lille,in their engineering school where he met the bassist Didier Levallet through whom he discovered jazz. In 1968, with a diploma in electrical engineering under his belt, he moved to Paris. There he played in clubs, most notably at the Caméléon, in a trio with Aldo Romano and Jean-François Jenny-Clark. He made his first recording in 1969 with Steve Lacy. Thereafter, he accompanied the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty for three years. His first disc with the label, Agartha Records, appeared in 1970 on which he was accompanied by Alby Cullaz and Bernard Lubat. The same he year he recorded "Pianos Puzzle" with Georges Arvanitas, René Urtreger and Maurice Vander. Following personal issues, he withdrew from performing for a period of time.
In 1972, he was engaged by the drummer Christian Vander to play piano in his group Magma which he did for two years. Following that, he played with Christian Escoudé, François Jeanneau and others. For several years, he was the regular pianist for the club Riverbop. Here he had the opportunity to play with numerous musicians, including Americans who were in Paris on tour such as Philly Joe Jones and Steve Grossman among others. After that he appeared at the club Dréher in Paris and at Magnetic Terrasse, usually in trio with Alby Cullaz and Christian Vander, but also with Barney Wilen or Jacques Pelzer.
In 1977 saxophonist and flutist Jacques Pelzer, whose daughter Micheline Graillier had married, introduced him to Chet Baker. For the next ten years Graillier accompanied the trumpeter on a regular basis.
In addition, he played with Éric Le Lann, Philip Catherine, Jacques Thollot, Richard Raux, Jean-Pierre Debarbat, Alain Jean-Marie, Paolo Fresu and Pharoah Sanders among others. He also appeared regularly in duo with bassist Riccardo Del Fra, and in trio with Alby Cullaz and Simon Goubert.
In the course of his career, he also accompanied the singers Julos Beaucarne, Jacques Bertin, Maxime le Forestier, Eddy Mitchell, Stéphanie Crawford, Elisabeth Caumont and Stella Vander.
According to Graillier, among the pianists who most influenced him were Bud Powell, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, and somewhat later Herbie Hancock in the Miles Davis quintet.
But Graillier has also said of his influences, "Of course, the influences are there, but it is not worth talking about them, they are part of the normal evolution of any musician. A musician simply wants to play, regardless of his knowledge of the language. He is therefore obliged to learn the language that others have developed over decades and this language becomes more and more intelligible over time, just as a kid learns to write. Above all, the influence of the great pianists and musicians is mainly of value in showing one how to find one’s own voice."
In his short autobiography, Le Monde la Musique (The World and its Music), Graillier chose to cite a phrase from Pascal Anquetil relative to his style, "There floats through all his music, a dreamy and sweetly drifting mist. A climate of peace that restores one on a summer night without knowing exactly why."
Xavier Prévost wrote in the Dictionnaire du Jazz, "Michel Graillier constructed an internal dialogue of breathing that knew how to make room for silence."