ARON OTTIGNON (LIVE)
New Zealand-born, Paris-based pianist Aron Ottignon has been steadily expanding his instrumental craft as a jazz pianist – both on his own and in collaboration with artists such as Stromae and Woodkid.
His technically brilliant yet imaginative approach has drawn attention beyond jazz, catapulting him into the pop, dance, world and rock spheres.
After a world tour with Woodkid, and his piano was to be heard with Abd Al Malik now and then, and, as if further proof of his protean talents were necessary, his name appeared in the credits of Papaoutai, the hit that he wrote together with Stromae.
Even so, despite calls to go out on the road, or a summons to a studio session, Aron hasn’t deviated an inch from his priority: to compose, develop and spread his own music. In 2015, one after another, came two EPs "Starfish" and "Waves" for which Ottignon sought out the production talents of fellow-antipodean Rodi Kirk, and enlisted UK steel pan and percussion virtuoso Samuel Dubois. The resulting EPs are a kaleidoscopic ride through electronically-augmented, percussion-heavy 21st century jazz that also take the explosive jazz-fusion of Aron’s debut "Culture Tunnels" to a new level: They combine his virtuosic playing and compelling compositions with percussive influences from Morocco, West Africa, Maloya and the Caribbean.
They were a foretaste of 2017, which is shaping up to be a pivotal year for Aron. It begins with a new EP "Nile" released on Blue Note. It’s all there: the breathing melody and the power in the rhythm, loops of organic piano inherited from electro, the shimmer of steel drums… Many compositions, incidentally, are structured around a drum motif: Aron has a fantasy in which each of his fingertips is a drumstick.
Against all mercantile logic, Aron Ottignon has chosen to produce instrumental music that combines the ambition of jazz with pop melodies, echoes of world music and electronic effects.