There are only two positions to be in as a musician: a teacher or a student. You’re either in a position to teach something to share some kind of knowledge with somebody or you’re in a position to learn something from somebody else. But I don’t want my students to yield to some almighty power. I have my opinions that I share with them, but I want them to discover for themselves how to get to where they want to be. Our own curiosity gives us the power to discover things for ourselves—to address musical issues as problems to solve instead of always approaching them as something to ‘learn.’
It’s also important to embrace the fruits of your discovery, which are a product of the environment you live in. I grew up listening to a lot of music that was not otherwise part of my culture, and it took me a while to understand that it was okay to be French, and let my own sensibilities and culture come through. But we all have to be curious and creative in our own ways.
I came to Berklee at 18 believing I was ready to ‘take on America.’ But in my first week I heard so much good piano during from teachers and students that I freaked out and left. From the airport I called an old friend of mine in Boston to say goodbye. She drove to the airport, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘Didn’t you come here to learn?’ It was the first time it occurred to me that somebody could actually teach me something. I had been raised in an atmosphere in which I believed I couldn’t be taught and had to pick up most things by myself. I decided to give it a shot, went back to Berklee, and never looked back.
- Performances with Phil Woods, Paul Simon, Paquito D'Rivera, Marc Johnson, and Madeleine Peyroux
- Critically acclaimed producer for his work with Jonatha Brooke
- Original compositions have been recorded by jazz greats such as Gary Burton, Dave Samuels, and Paquito D'Rivera
- Pianist and musical director for jazz artist Robin McKelle
- Recording and performing with local jam band sensation Club D'Elf, saxophonist Andy Snitzer, and the Caribbean Jazz Project
- Produced four tracks for singer/saxophonist Grace Kelly (Glamour magazine top music student in the U.S.)
- Building new keyboard project studio in Brighton, Massachusetts