Skip to main content

After studying music at the Conservatoire de La Réunion, where he was born in 1984, pianist and composer Gaël Rakotondrabe became an esteemed player on the Paris jazz scene, winning the Sunside trophy in 2005 with Karim Gherbi’s quintet, and the Montreux Jazz Festival International Piano Competition three years later.

His activities then evolved towards other artistic horizons. He composed music for theater and film, and began long-term collaborations with the group CocoRosie (2007-2024), Hugh Coltman (2008-2018), Ayo (2020)… which left him somewhat removed from the jazz scene.

Now he’s back in the fold with this somewhat belated debut opus, produced under his own name by Caramba Records. For the occasion, Gaël has selected a repertoire whose eclecticism owes much to the course of his career. It includes two Lennon/McCartney tracks, a Philippe Sarde piece, five standards from the Great American Song book and a personal composition entitled Shadow, which gives the album its title.

The result is a highly personalized rereading of the classics that showcases the finesse of his touch, the maturity of his playing, his ability to create a climate and his very own way of outlining a melody to deliver its full beauty. His phrasing is precise, his discourse free of unnecessary overload, and his improvisations developed with rigor and assurance.

Witness the jubilation that emerges from In a Sentimental Mood, the swaying rhythm of And I Love Her and the emotion that emanates from I Fall In Love Too Easily and My Funny Valentine.

The rhythm section discreetly and effectively provides invaluable support, contributing greatly to the success of this fine album. Can’t wait to hear more.

Line Up:

Gaël Rakotondrabe: piano, compositions

Laurent Vernerey: bass

Raphaël Chassin: drums

Shadow, recorded in 2023 was released on January 26, 2024 by the label For Musicians Only / Caramba Records

Gaël Rakorondrabe will play at Bal Blomet, on May 23, 2024.

Leave a Reply