February 19, 2024

An early sign of spring

Kind of a sequel to my new mini-album Syncline, a follow-up to the last track Basswood, and an early sign of spring.

February 16, 2024

Piano Day Vol. 3

Piano Day Vol. 3Piano Day Vol. 3

I’m happy to be part of this year’s compilation of Piano Day that will be out on March 28th, and released by LEITER.
You can listen and pre-save the album here. The original piece I composed and recorded for this special event will be released as a single on March 8th.

Read below for more infos about the event and Piano Day Vol. 3, and visit this page.

Why does the world need a Piano Day?” Given that the instrument has been established in Western music for more than 400 years, it was a good question, but Nils Frahm also had a good answer: Because it doesn’t hurt to celebrate the piano and everything around it: performers, composers, piano builders, tuners, movers and, most important, the listener.” This was a fair point, well made, and, as one of those performers and composers, Frahm marked the occasion by commissioning the inaugural construction of David Klavins’ Modell 450, an extraordinary, vertical, concert grand piano. It can still be found proudly occupying most of a wall in Frahm’s Berlin studio.

Piano Day, an annual worldwide event founded by a group of like-minded people, takes place on the 88th day of the year — this year, it’s March 28 — because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated. The day aims to create a platform for piano-related projects to promote the development of musical dimensions and to continue sharing the centuries-old joy of playing piano. Piano Day welcomes all piano lovers — young and old, amateur and professional, of any musical direction — to join in. It is intended to be the most joyful of all holidays!

Observed across the globe, Piano Day — first held in 2011 — provokes concerts, onstage and online, as well as radio shows, podcasts, and playlists every March. The most joyous of all holidays, celebrated on the 88th day of each year to reflect the number of keys on a piano’s keyboard, invites everyone to participate — and of course, it invariably brings new music with it.

Following up on last year’s releases, LEITER will again share an official companion album for the upcoming edition, featuring acclaimed artists such as Hideyuki Hashimoto, Jean Kapsa, Hugar, Burçe Karaca, and Jakob Lindhagen: PIANO DAY VOL. 3 presents ten exclusive, previously unreleased tracks composed to celebrate the magic and versatility of the instrument.

For the new compilation, musicians from all over the globe were invited to contribute to a unique collection of contemporary piano music. Their melodies, harmonies, and arrangements reflect different stories, states of mind, even special recording situations, offering a wide range of musical and artistic backgrounds from jazz, ambient, and classical to more experimental approaches.

PIANO DAY VOL. 3 will be available for streaming and download via all platforms on March 28, offering a vivid and valuable snapshot of the state of piano music today.

January 19, 2024

Read the press release:
Jean Kapsa: Echoing Jazz Innovation with Rhodes MK8/75AE Piano

December 9, 2023

Syncline was on France Musique Open Jazz show on December 8th. Replay the show hosted by Alex Dutilh.

November 24, 2023

New album: Syncline

Jean Kapsa, SynclineJean Kapsa, Syncline

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my new mini-album Syncline, on the Berlin-based label LEITER, founded by Nils Frahm and his long-time manager Felix Grimm.
It’s been a wonderful journey to work on this album surrounded by such an exceptional team, and it’s a great joy to join the LEITER family.

You can listen to Syncline today on the platform of your choice and on Bandcamp.

For more information, read below and visit this page.

French pianist and composer Jean Kapsa shares a beautiful mini-album, Syncline’, out on all digital platforms via LEITER. A collection of six solo pieces, it was recorded at night between September and November 2022 in Kapsa’s home in Paris on the piano his parents gave him when he was just 15 and which he still keeps in his living room, surrounded permanently by microphones. Most of it consists of first or second takes,” he says, usually recorded not too long after a piece’s composition — and often on the same day — so that the mood was the same. If I wasn’t happy after three takes, I usually gave up. I wanted the listener to be able to witness this intimate, fragile way of building an album made up of very new, personal, precious pieces.”

Syncline’ manages to be all those things: intimate, fragile, personal and precious. And it’s also performed with rare skill. Kapsa’s connection to LEITER dates back almost a decade to the loft he was sharing with seven other roommates in 2014. The place was really special,” he recalls, and one evening La Blogotheque came to film the band Real Estate with a little group of guests as the audience. I knew that a pianist friend of the producer had been invited to join us after the concert, but it was a surprise to see Nils Frahm arrive. Afterwards, while people were tidying up, I sat at my piano, the same one on which I’d later record Syncline’, and started to improvise. Nils came over and joined me for twenty minutes or so. You could say we introduced ourselves without words.”

So impressed was Frahm that he not only insisted Kapsa stay in contact, but also invited him to perform a duet, Hammers’, at the Philharmonie de Paris the following night for a show broadcast by ARTE. Afterwards, Frahm explained to the crowd how they’d met the previous evening: I was like, Who’s that? He’s way better than me!’” Still, it would be another eight years before they encountered one another again, though in the meantime Kapsa added to what was already a flourishing catalogue, with two solo albums, 2019’s Haïku’ and 2020’s Vespera’, joining 2012’s Improvisations’, not to mention multiple releases, before and since, with some of the many bands in which he performs. Over the years, you see, Kapsa has built up an impressive reputation in the French capital’s jazz scene, where he’s particularly appreciated for his improvisational skills.

releases November 24, 2023

Music by Jean Kapsa
Produced by Jean Kapsa
Mixed by Nils Frahm
Mastered by Zino Mikorey
Cover image by Klaus Frahm
Cover design by Torsten Posselt
Artistic support: Pauline Laulhe

October 11, 2023

Here is a playthrough video with the Rhodes MK8/75AE.

September 7, 2023

The stunning Rhodes MK8/75AE piano I won last year just arrived home yesterday, and I thought I’d write down a few thoughts. I spent a couple of hours playing with it and this experience was fantastic. I first got used to the touch of the piano - the keyboard action is excellent - and the physical sensation of feeling the hammers action and the vibration of the tines transmitted to the fingers is something truly special. I then experimented with all the piano’s functions, both in the preamp and effects sections - so many parameters and possibilities to explore, some bring us close to synthesis. Everything is very well thought out, well designed, and easy to use while playing. It feels like a very solid and complete instrument. This combination of an amazing sound, wonderful additions and a great design, makes this Rhodes an extremely inspiring instrument. Already, some new tunes emerged from this first session.

September 3, 2023

I’ve discovered Anthony Williams’ album Spring (1965), and I really like what’s on it. The music was surprisingly reminiscent of a Tyshawn Sorey concert given at the Musée du Quai Branly in the early 2010s, although his energy was arguably closer to Elvin Jones at that performance. The direction taken left me with the impression of witnessing a group of sculptors coming together to make something fine out of the rock in front of them. This album exudes freedom.

September 2, 2023

I just uploaded a new video where I’m jamming on the piano while testing the Chase Bliss Mood MKII effects pedal.

September 1, 2023

I’ve just watched again Brazil directed by Terry Gilliam and released in 1985. I watched it for the first time probably 20 years ago and I had no particular recollection of it, except for the pipes. But today it’s different. What struck me most was the freedom of direction the film took in so many areas: the script, the characters, the simple madness and absurdity that subtly emanates around the film’s guideline, this B instead of T. In the film, there’s this separation between Sam Lowry’s dreams and reality, but you’d think it was all a dream. The almost mind-numbing repetition of the song paradoxically adds a layer of freedom. In the end, it’s this controlled freedom that brings us back to the theme of a totalitarian future.

June 12, 2023

Nature’s Child

You can now watch Nature’s Child, a short film directed by Christina Amundsen, for which I composed the music.

In a world increasingly dominated by digital distractions, Nature’s Child’ encourages people of all ages to rekindle their relationship with nature.

The film won silver at Cannes Young Director Award for best Charity Commercial 2023, and is selected for Berlin Commercial Awards.

Nature’s ChildNature’s Child

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