Contemporary jazz keyboardist, composer and producer Philippe Saisse was born in Marseilles and raised in Paris; the son of a staff producer at CBS/Sony France, he studied piano, music theory and composition at the Paris National Conservatory, winning Boston's Berklee College of Music's prestigious Paul Winter Scholarship upon graduating in 1975.
At Berklee, Saisse became the protege of vibraphonist Gary Burton
, leading to a tenure playing behind Narada Michael Walden
; he made his recorded debut on Al DiMeola's 1979 effort Splendido Hotel, and in addition to jazz also expanded into pop session work with appearances on David Bowie's Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), Chaka Khan's I Feel for You and the Rolling Stones'
Dirty Work. Saisse also earned notice writing material for DiMeola
, Al Jarreau
(for whom he also co-produced the 1988 LP Heart's Horizon) and David Sanborn
; he additionally served as the musical director on the Sanborn
-hosted TV series Night Music. In 1988 Saisse signed to Windham Hill to release his solo debut, Valerian; it was seven years before the follow-up, Masques, appeared on Verve Forecast. Next Voyage followed in 1997, and two years later he resurfaced with Halfway Till Dawn. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi