Laurent Coq was born on Feb 22, 1970 in Marseille.
The youngest of five boys, he grew up in the countryside around
Aix-en-Provence. He started studying piano at age 7. Three years
later, he entered the Aix National Dance and Music Conservatory
in Ms Courtin's class (also Helene Grimaud's teacher).
In 1988, he was awarded First Prize and moved to Paris where he
registered at the C.I.M (in those days, the number one jazz school
in France). He studied with Emmanuel Bex, and met with drummer Daniel
Garcia Bruno and bass player Jules Bikoko bi Njami with whom he
formed the Ad For Tri trio.
From 1989 to 1994, he multiplied experiences.
He played in alto saxophonist Patrick Bocquel's Quintet, a band
that made quite an impact in winning numerous competitions, one
of which the CRPLF (French-as-a-first-language National Radios),
led to the recording of Radio Days. He also took part in
vibraphone player Oriol Bordas's band, Paris Barcelona Swing
Connection. Among the many performances, there was a french
tour with special guest American Saxophonist Frank Wess (Vienne
1993). One must also mention his collaboration with singer Marcel
Kanche, with whom he toured Europe and recorded two albums (Barclay).
In 1994, he obtained a Grant from the French Government
for a six months stay in New York. He took lessons from piano players
Mulgrew Miller and John Hicks, but most notably from Bruce Barth
who will soon become his mentor and a true friend, which he remains
to this day. Back in Paris, Laurent turned this precious experience
into a Quartet that included his old pals Jules Bikoko bi Njami
and Daniel Garcia Bruno and young tenor Jean-Christophe Béney.
In 1996, the composer signed his first film score for actor/director Alain Beigel. Il y a des journées
qui mériteraient qu'on leur casse la gueule won First
Prize at the Meudon Short Films Festival, and the Grand Prix at
the 1997 Metz Festival.
In February 1997, the quartet went to New York to record the first album as leader. Bruce Barth wore the artistic
producer's hat and David Baker engineered the session. Thanks to
Bruce, the album will be released on prestigious german label Enja. Jaywalker was
an immediate success with the critics, and this first public recognition
has since being maintained.
Not long before, Laurent Coq had met with singer Laurence Allison,
and together they started to work thoroughly on Duke Ellington's
repertoire. In 1997, they recorded Soul Calls, with a two-saxophones
After six years of complicity, Daniel Garcia Bruno chose to devote
himself to more personal projects, and Philippe Soirat took over
the drums in the leader's quartet. Two years of hard work will produce
a new repertoire still very much influenced by the New York scene,
and an even more distinctive sound. At the time, Laurent Coq pursued
his close collaboration with Laurence Allison taking a fresh approach
to Bud Powell's and Thelonious Monk's worlds of music..
On the movie front, 1997 was an intense year.
Teaming up with guitar player and composer Benjamin Raffaelli, Laurent
signed the film scores of Laurent Benegui's Mauvais
Genre, and J'irai au paradis car l'enfer est ici by Xavier Durringer. In
1998, Laurent and Benjamin met again on Mille
Bornes by Alain Beigel...
In 1999, Laurent Coq produced two albums in New York; Versatile with
his own quartet -- with the same Jaywalker crew comprising of Bruce Barth as artistic producer and David Baker
as sound engineer -- and Laurence Allison's Thelonious &
Bud Together Again with her sextet. It will take more than
a year for these two recordings to be published on the Cristal label,
but this tenacity will be rewarded with unanimous praise.
The same year, Laurent signed the original score of the fairy tale Airou ! J'ai compris written and directed by Michel Uzan
for the National Theater of Nanterre.
In 2000, he settled in New York where
he met with another French expatriate, the saxophone player Jérôme
Sabbagh. Frequently, he came back to Europe, and soon presented
a one-of-a-kind trio with two saxophones (tenor David El-Malek and
alto Olivier Zanot). In 2001, while in Paris, the band played at
the Duc des Lombards and the concert was recorded by Claude Carriere
and Jean Delmas for their weekly show on French National Radio,
'Jazz Club'. Laurent
Coq Blowing Trio/Live@the Duc des Lombards received the Grand
Prix du Disque Charles Cros 2002.
On May 2001, Laurent was granted an American
Artist Visa. He was cast in Sarah Morrow's band for a few
appearances in the U.S, notably at the New York JVC Festival and
Washington jazz club Blues Alley. This was also the opportunity
for him to meet with Mark Turner.
Three days before 9-11, Laurent Coq flew back to Paris to record
Jean-Christophe Béney's Cassiope.
Most importantly, since the summer, the composer had a new quartet
that proudly endorsed New York dynamism. The group featured tenor
saxophonist Jérôme Sabbagh, and two young musicians
recently arrived from Los Angeles, bass player Brandon Owens and
drummer Damion Reid. Together, they were going to develop an original
music that was the natural consequence of the leader's previous
years of work. On several occasions, they traveled overseas, and
they performed at the 2002 Paris JVC Festival.
In 2002, Laurent Coq played every Monday in a Village joint in NY,
the Cafe Creole.
In March 2003, the quartet recorded Like
A Tree In The City in a New Jersey studio. The album came out
simultaneously in Europe on Cristal and in the U.S on Sunnyside,
and served as a milestone in the career of an artist who continues
to create a totally unique world.
Laurent Coq was nominated by the French Jazz Academy
for the Year's Best Musician Award.
In the fall of 2003, Laurent Coq signed the
original score for Laurent Benegui's Qui
perd gagne, written for a 72 piece symphonic orchestra (with
the exception of the closing credits song written for the Vintage
Orchestra and sung by Allen Hoist). The soundtrack was released
on june 22, 2004, one day before the movie.
In August 2004, Laurent got on stage for the
first time with a piano trio for four nights in a row at
the Sunside in Paris, bringing along a drummer with whom he played
quite a bit over the past years in New York, Otis Brown III. This
naturally led to the recording of his first piano trio album for
which he called the bass player everybody digs (Dianne Reeves, Joshua
Redman, Charles Llyod...), Reuben Rogers. The session took place
in a little Soho studio during two evenings of November 2004. Spinnin'
is to be released both in France (spring '05 on Cristal) and the
U.S (fall 2005 on Sunnyside).
In December 2004, French jazz magazine Jazzman asked him to conduct
an interview with guitar player Pat Metheny that made the February
issue front cover. He also wrote a long biography of soul singer
Donny Hathaway for new magazine Muziq.
The piano player spent the winter of 2005 in Paris
where he was in residence at the jazz club La Fontaine, alternating
with the Blowing trio featuring sax players David El-Malek and Olivier
Zanot, and another trio with Mathias Allamane on bass and drummer
In June 2005, he played at the Paris Jazz Festival for the release of Spinnin', along
with Darryl Hall and Otis Brown III.
In September 2005, Laurent was featured in Elisabeth Kontomanou's new album untitled Waiting For Spring playing two duos, including his own composition Claude Sait renamed The Bird In Me.
In October, he joined the Edim staff (Paris music school).
In 2006, Laurent multiplied his sideman engagements.
First with American Saxophonist Rick Margitza who had a weekly gig at la Fontaine.
That was also in this club that saxophonist Sophie Alour explored new directions and put her new quartet together along with Laurent.
In the same period of time, Singer Sonia Cat-Berro called our man on a regular basis.
In June 2006, french saxophonist Julien Lourau asked Laurent to replace Bojan Zulfikarpasic to play at the National Music Day. The next day, they flew to New York where they met with bass player Thomas Bramerie and drummer Ari Hoenig and then to Haiti for an intense week. They played two gigs there ; one in Port-au-Prince, and the other in Jacmel, cradle of Haitian's culture. The Quartet Jacmel was born.
In December 2006, Spinnin' is granted the Best French Album of the Year Award by French Jazz Academy.
During the winter of 2006, Laurent worked on two different film projects ;
With the Adami, he was asked to produce musical scores for short movies that will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival (Talents Cannes).
He was also commissioned by the TV channel Arte to illustrate five documentary directed by Antoine Roux that will be aired on prime time in November 2006.
In september 2006, the Blowing trio entered the recording studio for the making of leader's sixth album, the second with his atypical band (one piano, two saxs). Singer Laurence Allison was invited on two originals.
Two days after these sessions, Laurent flew to Japan where he performed solo for the first time. He did three shows, including one in front of five thousand people at the Sendaï Street Jazz Festival, to promote the release of Spinnin' on Japanese label Wards Records.
In the fall of 2006, alto Pierrick Pedron hired him to play with his quartet after the released of his acclaimed new album, Deep In A Dream (Nocturne).
In early December, Laurent went to Vietnam along with Julien Lourau and bass player Vincent Artaud. They met drummer Otis Brown III, longtime Laurent's partner (Spinnin'). They played in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City, former Saigon.
Back from that trip, Laurent recorded Sophie Alour's new album untitled Uncaged (Nocturne) in Paris.
Laurent was nominated 2006 Best Musician by the French Jazz Academy.
In January 2007, with the Pierrick Pedron quartet, Laurent was invited to perform at the annual New York Jazz Conference, IAJE. He took advantage of his being there to mix Sophie Alour's album at the famous Avatar Studio.
The next day of his return, he joined Julien Lourau at the Lyon Opera Hall for three concerts with the Jacmel quartet (Thomas Bramerie and Ari Hoenig).
The new Blowing Trio album untitled The Thing To Share was released on March 8, 2007 on label Cristal. The band performed at famous Parisian venue The New Morning on April 25.
Sophie Alour's album, Uncaged, was released in May on label Nocturne. Numerous concerts were scheduled, including an African Tour (ten countries) in the fall of 2007.
Laurent also performed in many venues in France and abroad throughout the year with alto Pierrick Pedron's quartet .
Julien Lourau Saïgon Quartet was invited to perform three nights at the Paris Jazz Festival at La Villette in September 2007.
In 2008, Laurent continued to perform more and more in France and abroad with two visits to Algiers with Pierrick Pedron with whom he has done more than one hundred concerts over the past two years, with his Blowing trio, with Sophie Alour, and with Julien Lourau who brought his new quartet to Montenegro at the Podgoritsa Festival in May. The rhythm section has been definitively cast ; bass player Thomas Bramerie and drummer Otis Brown III. Upon Julien's request, Laurent wrote several originals for the band. In june, he recorded Pierrick Pedron's new album in Paris.
Right before leaving Paris for New-York, Laurent met with Japanese dancer and choreographer Toshiko Oiwa (Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, Preljocaj) for a total improvisation that was filmed. The movie called Bird's Improvisation #1 was posted on pianist's website.
Begining of July, Laurent returned to New-York for a three months stay. he instantly reconnected with former mates French tenor saxophonist Jérôme Sabbagh who has been in NY for more than twelve years and Californian drums prodigy Damion Reid. Naturally, this reunion reactivated the inspiration that once gave birth to the music of Like a Tree in the City and he devoted these Brooklyn weeks to the writing of a new repertoire that they recorded in a small New Jersey Studio, Tedesco, along with bass player Joe Sanders and the great and ever-faithful sound engineer Katsuhiko Naito.
Just before that recording, at the end of August, Laurent flew back to Tokyo, Japan, to promote the release of the latest Blowing trio album The Thing to Share on Japanese label Ward Records (the label also released Spinnin', Versatile, Blowing Trio Live@the Duc des Lombards, and Like a Tree in the City). Laurent's Blowing trio spent a week in the Japanese's capital and performed four times including an appearance at the prestigious Tokyo Jazz Festival.
Back to Paris at the end of September, Laurent went on a French tour with Sophie Alour and worked on adapting Pierrick Pedron's Omry to the stage.
He practiced Miguel Zenon's music, for the Puerto Rican alto player asked him to replace his regular piano player Luis Perdomo for a couple of concerts in Europe. They played in Poland and at Lausanne Jazz Festival, Switzerland.
In December, Julien Lourau's Saigon Quartet with Thomas Bramerie on bass and drummer Otis Brown III played two nights at the Sunside in Paris before heading to the south where they recorded Julien's new album set to be released on September 2009.
2009 started with the release of Pierrick Pedron's new album Omry that drew immediate raving from the critics. This two-drums sextet gave its first performances in Paris and in Brittany. An Algerian tour is Scheduled begining of November 2009.
In March, Laurent created 88TREES, his new label that released Eight fragments of Summer - Laurent’s seventh album as a leader - at the end of April. The press reviews were unanimous (4-stars in Jazzman, CD of the month in Jazz Magazine, 4f in Telerama).
Mid-April, Laurent met with Japanese dancer and choreographer Toshiko Oiwa again and together they performed their second improvisation. The movie was posted online on the pianist's website.
This year, Laurent was contacted by two eminent American saxophonists, Miguel Zenon and Sam Sadigursky, both winners of the CMA/FACE grant given by the prestigious Chamber Music America who helps finance projects that associate musicians from France and the U.S. In November of 2009, he participated in the composition of a new repertoire based on contemporary poems by French and American writers. This co-led ensemble with Sam Sadigursky featuring two singers, Laurence Allison and Christina Correa, played at the French National Radio in November, and at Sunside Jazz in Club in Paris.
He also worked on new music inspired by Rayuela - the famous book by Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar - music that puertorican alto saxophonist - and winer of the MacArthur "Genius" grant - Miguel Zenon has asked him to write for an atypical band including Dana Leong on trombone and cello and Dan Weiss on drums and talba. The first concerts were given at Sunside Jazz Club in Paris, beginning of march 2010. The music was so well received that they decided to record it.
The same year, Laurent worked on a series of documentary directed by Antoine Roux with whom he has worked many times before. Movies were broadcast on National Television Channel Arte. He also started playing with Maltese guitar player Sandro Zerafa who was already working on a new repertoire written for a quartet that featured bass player Yoni Zelnik and drummer Karl Jannuska.
In June 2010, Pierrick Pedron's Omry locked itself in the basement in Montreuil to put together the new repertoire that Laurent Coq has arranged entirely. The recording took place at the legendary Brussels studio, ICP with sound engineer Jean Lamoot (Alain Bashung) and composer - winer of an Oscar for the orignal score of French movie The Artist - Ludovic Bource as artistic producer.
Coming back to Paris, Laurent met with young drummer Guilhem Flouzat who once was his student at EDIM and who left Paris for New York where he studied at the Manhattan School of Music. While in New York, he had written new material and asked Laurent to be his artistic producer. Recorded at Gimmick Studio, the album features an international cast : young French alto player Antonin Hoang, American saxophonist Ben Wendel (Kneebody), another young French expatriate in New York, Michael Valeanu, and two bass players playing alternatively, young Simon Tailleu and from Italy Matteo Bortone.
End of August, Laurent Coq went back to New York where he played the music of Rayuela with Miguel Zenon at Hartford, CT, and recorded it at Systems Two in Brooklyn. In November, Laurent Coq went on the road again with Julien Lourau's Saigon quartet. Beginning of December, he was at Studio La Buissonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines, to record Sandro Zerafa's new album (PJU records).
In 2011, Laurent Coq launched an animated debate by addressing an open letter to Sebastien Vidal, head of the Parisian jazz radio TSF JAZZ, and booker of both Paris Jazz club Duc des Lombards and Django Reinhardt Jazz Festival in Sammois. These heated exchanges went viral on internet and soon Laurent decided to open a blog where musicians would express their frustrations in trying to keep their heads above water in a increasingly hostile environment. The blog became so popular that all the jazz press and most of the national newspapers wrote about it. Along with other musicians and Jazz writers, Laurent finally wrote an open letter to the Ministry of Culture, Mr Frédéric Mitterrand, that was published by national newspaper Libération to ask him to take the issues of jazz music and the fate of younger musicians more seriously. The ministry accepted to meet with him and two other French Jazz community representatives, piano player Pierre de Bethmann and radio producer Alex Dutilh, and asked them to organize a large consultation in order to summarize all the issues regarding jazz music in France. This intense process lasted for several months and in December of 2011, the group (including all the French jazz federations, major venues, festivals, jazz critics, producers, and many musicians) that worked on that large consultation was able to sent a important document to the French Ministry of Culture.
Despite these very busy months of activism, Laurent didn't give up on music. Mid April of 2011, he went back to studio La Buissonne along with Sam Sadigursky and four other musicians, including two singers, to record their collaborative work (Sam Sadigursky & Laurent Coq - Crosswords / Mots Croisés) and Sam's new album (Words 4). In May, he flew to New York to complete the mixing and the mastering of these two new albums with his old friend sound engineer Katsuhiko Naito.
In July of 2011, Laurent went back to La Buissonne one more time - the fourth time in one year - to record David Prez's new album Awakening (PJU records).
In 2012, Laurent Coq continued to push the issues of Jazz in France, including the need to help the young generation that comes out of all the new schools that multiplied these past years all over the country without any perspective of playing or making a descent living. Along with the group that has worked on the document given to the ministry, he pursued several projects, including a new venue in Paris, and a program that would foster projects from young musicians with the help of older ones.
On the musical front, he started working with former student guitar player Ralph Lavital, and together they began playing gigs around town. In the spring of 2012, Laurent started writing new original music for this piano/guitar duo, and together, they decided to add a voice on a few songs with the addition of singer Nicolas Pelage. In July of 2012, the three musicians went to studio La Buissonne, and recorded Laurent Coq's eight album as a leader entitled Dialogue. In August, Laurent Coq went back to New York to do the mixing and the mastering of this new music with Katsuhiko Naito at Avatar Studio. He also played with Miguel Zenon the music of Rayuela at Newport Jazz Festival, and several times at Smalls Jazz Club with drummer Otis Brown III and tenor player Jerome Sabbagh.
Laurent Coq is currrently teaching composition at EDIM, in Cachan, near Paris.