It’s About the Music – The Art and Heart of Improvisation

Book Review by Paula Edelstein

Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc has authored his first book titled It’s About the Music, The Art and Heart of Improvisation (Glen Lyon Books: 241 pp. $18.95). The book chronicles Jean-Michel Pilc’s career as an improvising jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, music producer and educator as well as his teachings on musical creativity and expressiveness. Pilc  makes copious examples of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Picasso, Cezanne etc and also includes memorable quotes, anecdotes and practical exercises involving rhythm, melody and ways to hear music that can help to tap into the intrinsic artistry of each musician, student, and educator.

It’s About the Music – The Art and Heart of Improvisation also focuses on the communicative and technical aspects of improvisation and makes an excellent resource for both pros and aspiring improvisers.  Pilc includes information on how to assimilate and execute chord progressions, substitutions, turn arounds and constructing  a melody and jazz chorus. The book is well written and should be required reading for any student, journalist, or musician studying or involved with the art of improvisation.

Born in 1960 in Paris, France, and now an American citizen Jean- Michel Pilc is currently one of the most innovative pianists in jazz. The self-taught pianist resides in New York City and has released several best selling recordings since 1995. Besides his extensive solo piano work, the award-winning pianist has worked steadily with a trio consisting of the bassist Francois Moutin and the drummer Ari Hoenig for nearly two decades. Pilc has also lent his creative visions to such bands as those lead by Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter,  JD Walter, Richard Bona and many others.

Mr. Pilc is a NYC Steinhardt faculty member and also teaches at the New School in New York City.

For more information about Jean Michel Pilc, his recordings and work as an educator, please visit his website at

Reprinted with permission of…
Sounds of Timeless Jazz