A sophisticated, exploratory jazz pianist, France's Baptiste Trotignon is a highly regarded performer known for his harmonically inventive style.
Born in a suburb of Paris in 1974, Trotignon was raised in the Loire region near Saumur. He started out on the violin at age six, and moved to piano a few years later. Growing up, he studied at the Nantes Conservatory, where he won accolades for his playing. As a teenager, he developed a love of jazz, and by age 16 was playing his own shows.
An opportunity to play a musician in director Alain Corneau's 1994 film Le Nouveau Monde spurred his decision to move to Paris the following year. From the late '90s onward, he led his own trio featuring bassist Clovis Nicolas and drummer Tony Rabeson. In 2000, he made his solo debut with Fluide, which garnered praise and took home the Django d'Or for Best First Record. Sightseeing arrived in 2001, and helped earn Trotignon the Jazz Academy's Prix Django Reinhardt, marking him as France's jazz musician of the year. More awards followed, including 2002's Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris from the Martial Solal International Jazz Competition, and 2003's French Newcomer of the Year honor at the Victoires du Jazz.
In 2003, Trotignon released his third studio album, Solo, which found him working in a solo piano setting. He then paired with saxophonist David El-Malek on the 2005 quartet effort Trintigon-El-Malek, and returned the same year with another well-regarded solo piano album, Solo II. Concerts followed, including performances with drummer Aldo Romano and bassist Remi Vignolo. The trio was was again featured on the 2006 collaboration Flower Power, which found them reworking songs by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, and others. Trotignon then rejoined El-Malek for 2007's Fool Time. That same year, he moved to the Hammond B-3 organ for saxophonist Stefano di Battista's Trouble Shootin', playing alongside trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso, drummer Eric Harland, and guitarist Russell Malone.
The pianist then traveled to New York to record 2009's Share, which featured contributions from trumpeter Tom Harrell, saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Matt Penman, and more. A tour followed, resulting in the 2010 live album Suite..., with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt taking over for Harrell. Two years later, he delivered the ambitious Song Song Song, which featured collaborations with a handful guest artists including vocalists Melody Gardot, Monica Passos, Jeanne Added, and others. The ruminative, ballad-heavy duet effort with Mark Turner, Dusk Is a Quiet Place, followed in 2013
Around the same time, Trotignon won praise for his classical composition Piano Concerto ("Different Spaces") (featured on 2015's Baptiste Trotignon: Concerto pour piano; Different Spaces). Commissioned by Orchestre National de Bordeaux, and debuted by pianist Nicholas Angelich, the major orchestral work earned Trotignon a nomination for Composer of the Year at the 2014 Victoires de La Musique Classique. Also in 2014, he delivered the trio album Hit, with bassist Thomas Bramerie, and drummer Jeff Ballard. A year later, he paired with Argentinian percussionist Minino Garay for the duet album, Chimichurri, on Okeh Records. In 2017, the pianist collaborated with soprano vocalist Kate Lindsey on the album Thousands of Miles. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi