Michel Graillier was a French jazz pianist, born 18 October 1946 in Lens (Pas-de-Calais), died 11 February 2003 in Paris.

From four to eighteen years of age, Michel Graillier studied classical piano in Lens. During adolescence, he appeared on the scene for the first time as a drummer with the amateur yéyé group, Les Chaps (“The Guys”).

After some preparatory classes, he enrolled at the ISEN in Lille, in their engineering school where he met the bassist Didier Levallet through whom he discovered jazz. In 1968, with a diploma in electrical engineering under his belt, he moved to Paris. There he played in clubs, most notably at the Caméléon, in a trio with Aldo Romano and Jean-François Jenny-Clark. He made his first recording in 1969 with Steve Lacy. Thereafter, he accompanied the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty for three years. His first disc with the label, Agartha Records, appeared in 1970 on which he was accompanied by Alby Cullaz and Bernard Lubat. The same he year he recorded “Pianos Puzzle” with Georges Arvanitas, René Urtreger and Maurice Vander. Following personal issues, he withdrew from performing for a period of time.

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In 1972, he was engaged by the drummer Christian Vander to play piano in his group Magma which he did for two years. Following that, he played with Chrisitan Escoudé, François Jeanneau and others. For several years, he was the regular pianist for the club Riverbop. Here he had the opportunity to play with numerous musicians, including Americans who were in Paris on tour such as Phily Joe Jones and Steve Grossman among others. After that he appeared at the club Dréher in Paris and at Magnetic Terrasse, usually in trio with Alby Cullaz and Christian Vander, but also with Barney Wilen or Jacques Pelzer.

In 1977 saxophonist and flutist Jacques Pelzer whose daughter Micheline Graillier had married, introduced him to Chet Baker. For the next ten years Graillier accompanied the trumpeter on a regular basis.

In addition, he played with Eric Le Lann, Philip Catherine, Jacques Thollot, Richard Raux, Jean-Pierre Debarbat, Alain Jean-Larie, Paolo Fresu and Pharoah Sanders among others. He also appeared regularly in duo with bassist Riccardo Del Fra, and in trio with Alby Cullaz and Simon Goubert.

In the course of his career, he also accompanied the singers Julos Beaucarne, Jacques Bertin, Maxime Le Forestier, Eddy Mitchel, Stéphanie Crawford, Elisabeth Caumont and Stella Vander.

He died in February 2003.

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