Growing up in Beirut during the civil war, the piano was omnipresent in Jad Salameh’s early life. Whether listening to his father’s Lebanese folk songs at night, hiding his favorite toys in the underbelly of the instrument, or even sheltering underneath it during bombing raids, he developed a deep bond with the piano.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that the instrument has become a central part of his life. The journey itself may be a little more unexpected though: the pianist first moved to Montreal to study molecular biology where he discovered and fell in love with jazz.
Now based in Paris, he describes his commitment to tailoring those early-acquired piano skills and the experiences along the way to the realm of jazz.
The music - in whatever constellation - is both reflective and exploratory; introverted and explosive. Elements of Lebanese and classical music, infused with the traditions of jazz.
Establishing himself on the French scene, he has absorbed many of the contemporary influences, highlighting in particular the music of Thomas Enhco, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks, Didier Lockwood and Baptiste Trotignon.
Since his debut album in 2014, his career has evolved into a multitude of explorations and collaborations, including with world renowned musicians such as Racha Rizk, Layal Chaker, Naïssam Jalal and Jennifer Grout.
But still everything comes back to the piano, with both solo and trio projects helping him explore the textures and possibilities as a musician, bandleader and composer.
Whilst seeing himself as a citizen of the world, his affinity with his adopted country is perhaps best shown with his long-standing trio featuring French virtuosos Arthur Henn (bass) and Kevin Lucchetti (drums). A collaboration stretching back several years, the trio share a connection that can only be born out of hundreds of hours of playing together.
Infusing elements of classic jazz with a thunderous energy and contemporary imagination, the group are united in sharing Jad’s focus on exploration as the key driving factor.
Over the last years the group has performed at a prestigious collection of concerts in France, including Jazz à la Villette, Festival Jazzycolors and Sunset in Paris.
With new releases on the horizon, Jad looks to continue his journey of pianistic discovery further afield.
“While our current reality is getting closer and closer to a work of post-apocalyptic fiction, I want to take back the narrative and create a musical escape for this madness that is slowly settling in us.”