Pianist Jerry Léonide is from Mauritius, a place not necessarily associated with Jazz. But there has always been a pretty active and lively music scene and yet, the young Léonide decided to move to Paris at age 17.
Léonide says of his home turf: “Mauritius is a country of many different ethnic influences and that’s why the people there have always been very open for the various music styles. People there love music”.
The love for his home is evident throughout his debut album “The Key”, which recently came out on the ACT Music label. What you get from the start, the very rich “Independence Day (Part 1)”, is an amalgamation of traditional Mauritian grooves and rhythms with straight ahead Jazz.
The pianist, who has won the Montreux Jazz Solo Piano competition twice (3rd prize in 2011 and winner in 2013), is a very expressive pianist who also uses a melodica on a couple of tracks. The mixture of the different styles shines through on the haunting “Black River Road” which features the vocals of Woz Kaly and the very Pat Metheny-like “Dodo Baba”. “South East Winds” with its various tempo changes, handclaps and irresistible rhythms is one of the highlights on the album.
Jerry Léonide has come up with an astonishing debut incorporating the poetic African improvisations and dances with the world of current modern Jazz. You can catch him live at Munich’s Unterfahrt Jazz Club on December 9th. Don’t miss!