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

January 23, 2023


August 31, 2022

August Ending

August 23, 2022


Rhodes Mark I, photo by Jean KapsaRhodes Mark I, photo by Jean Kapsa

I recently got a call from Dan Goldman, Rhodes CPO, who informed me that I had won the Win a Rhodes MK8/75AE Piano’ competition! This amazing and unexpected news means that in a few months, I will be delivered a limited edition (only seventy-five) of the brand new Rhodes MK8 piano. I am very grateful to the Rhodes team for this incredible gift; the opportunity of having this instrument at home will definitely change my way of working on music. I can’t wait to experiment, play and record with this stunning instrument. You can also expect me to post some clips on Instagram / Youtube in the future.

Many improvements and great features have been announced and detailed for this new model1; before having the chance to play it, I thought this was a good time to share how I grew up with the sound of the Rhodes.

Way before I even played a Rhodes piano for the first time, I remember being moved by its sound around 1995 when I was ten years old and started listening to the Blues Brothers and Ray Charles (whom I saw performing live in 1999 at Crest Jazz Festival in France), and later, between 2000 and 2005, with french musicians Ludovic Navarre (aka St Germain), Erik Truffaz, or Wise band (led by Robin Notte, who later became a friend). As I grew up listening to different things, my ears finally got acquainted with many other artists playing the Rhodes.

Around 2007, I had a first opportunity to play a Rhodes Mark I, that belonged to a friend who brought it to a jam session. I remember finding the sound beautiful, and that I had to adjust a bit my playing and my voicings, because it didn’t react the same way as an acoustic piano. The dynamic range was different, the touch was also different, with wobbly keys bouncing in a loosy way, but still kind of facilitating the phrasing. In 2010, for the first album of the Benoit Berthe Quartet (with Nicolas Charlier and Zacharie Abraham), we used a Rhodes MK1 for a piece called Checkpoint. The next time I could play one was in 2012, we recorded a demo with a quintet in Paris (with Gautier Garrigue, Florent Nisse, David Enhco and Romain Cuoq) and the studio only had a MK1 as a keyboard instrument. The last time was in 2019 for a session in the studio of drummer Anne Paceo, with Rashan Ahmad, Benoit Lugué and Arnaud Desprez.

Rhodes MK8/75AE Limited Edition PianoRhodes MK8/75AE Limited Edition Piano

Below is a non-exhaustive list of songs/albums with Rhodes piano on it, that I enjoyed listening at some point, in no particular order:

Walter Smith IIIKate Song (Robert Glasper on the Rhodes)
Uri Caine — Our Hour
Miles Davis — In a Silent Way (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Joe Zawinul on the Rhodes)
Chris Potter — Rumples (Craig Taborn on the Rhodes)
Bill Evans — The Bill Evans Album
Keith Jarrett and Jack Dejohnette — Ruta and Daitya
Paul Simon — Still Crazy After All These Years (Barry Beckett on the Rhodes)
Herbie Hancock — Actual Proof
The Doors — Riders on the Storm (Ray Manzarek on the Rhodes)
Erik Truffaz — Bending New Corners; The Dawn (Patrick Muller on the Rhodes)
Robert Glasper — Riot
Chick Corea — Return to Forever
Wise — Le Troisième Homme (Robin Notte on the Rhodes)
The Blues Brothers & Ray Charles — Shake A Tail Feather
St Germain — Deep In It (Alexandre Destrez on the Rhodes)
The Beatles and Billy Preston — Get Back
Brad Mehldau — Will You Still Be Mine (bootleg recording with Brad Mehldau on the Rhodes)

  1. Notably the keyboard is manufactured by Kluge Klaviaturen GmbH (Steinway, Bösendorfer, Fazioli…).↩︎

July 5, 2022

Late June

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