Born in Le Puy en Velay – France, Laurent Courthaliac learned to play piano as a self-taught musician, before becoming a student at the Music Conservatory in Lyon. After he graduated in 1994, he started to be very active on the Rhone Alpes music scene, playing with such musicians as Steve Grossman, Serge Lazarevitch, Yannick Rieu, Charles Bellonzi…
He took also part to the Collective MU Orchestra, a band with whom he won the first price of competitions in Jazz a Vienne (1995), and the first price at Jazz a la Defense(1996).
Laurent moved to Paris in 1998. His sophisticated taste, solid sense of swing and his great knowledge of Jazz repertoire quickly made him a first class musician on the Parisian scene. He started work as a sideman with such musicians as Lee Konitz, Pierre Boussaguet, Rick Margitza, Christian Escoude, Stephane Belmondo, Pierrick Pedron, Francois Theberge, Xavier Richardeau, Joe Cohn, Dmitry Baevsky, Sarah Lazarus… He also became the regular “house pianist” of the famous jazz club “Le Petit Opportun”, being part of the collective “Nuits Blanches”, a musical congregation of an upcoming generation of French Jazzmen (Baptiste Trotignon, Olivier Temime, Alexandre Tassel…).
Parallel to his activities as a sideman, Laurent recorded with some of his working bands, such as Luigi Trussardi 5tet (“Introspection”,Elabeth, 2000), Horellou/Sauzay 5tet (“Versus”, Fresh Sound New Talents, 1999), Yves Brouqui 4tet( The Music Of Horace Silver feat. Joe Strasser on Elabeth,2010), and also as a leader on “Scarlett Street”, his first CD for the famous label Nocturne (2005), with Gilles Naturel on bass and Phillipe Soirat on drums. On this album, composed of standards and originals, “Laurent write a story, his own, with a daring fluidity and talent (Jazz Magazine)”
While keeping up with a busy schedule as a performer, Laurent continued to study piano with the great Alain Jean Marie, as well as with the legendary jazz pianist Barry Harris, who said about him later that he is the “up and coming head of the bebop class”.
In 2008 he started to work with iconic jazz singer Elisabeth Kontomanou. He recorded with her in a duo format, “Brewing the Blues”, for Plus Loin Music (4F Telerama, 4 stars Jazzman) and “Live at the Arsenal”, captured live with a Symphonic Orchestra directed by Jacques Mercier.
He played with her extensively from 2008 to 2012 on French national scenes and venues such as New Morning, Casino de Paris… as well as around the world in Japan, South Corea, Arab Emirates, Caraibian Islands…
Besides this busy schedule, Laurent always kept playing with his trio, appearing regularly in Sunset-Sunside Jazz Club for a series of tributes to some of the most famous jazz legends. Recently, after numerous trips to New York City, Laurent decided to record a new trio album, “Pannonica”, a tribute to the Jazz Baroness Pannonica of Koenigswarter.
To do so, he surrounded himself with jazz legend Ron Carter on bass, Rodney Green on drums, as well as bassist Clovis Nicolas on four tracks. This recording has been released on the prestigious label Jazz Village /Harmonia Mundi in November 2013.
“After many concerts with his trio, pianist Laurent Courthaliac decided to celebrate cinema, his second passion.
He conceived and album leading a larger ensemble – an octet – to pay a tribute to Woody Allen, one of his favorite movie directors.
“All My Life, A Musical Tribute To Woody Allen” will be released on Jazz&People label on September 23rd 2016”