Grand Pianoramax “Big Easy” EP


UnknownFor those of you looking for something intelligently springy to tap your feet to, may I suggest wrapping your ears around the new EP from Grand Pianoramax, (Leo Tardin‘s supergroup trio who have been making waves on the alternative post-jazz hip-hop scene for some years now). BIG EASY, released on 8th May on Geneva-based Mental Groove Records, celebrates a new chapter in the band’s progression towards a lighter, brighter, more accessible sound whilst still retaining all of their refinement and crystalline musicality.

Crossover potential

Whilst not exactly madly carefree, the timbre of their 5 track EP is certainly less abstract and heavily-laden compared to previous work released on ObliqSound Records. The title track, Big Easy, is a perfectly balanced interplay between crisp, bouncy beats, a husky poetic rapping style and beautifully pert piano melodies. It’s a track with crossover potential written all over it: elegantly catchy, radio friendly, almost lounge bar appropriate – not that it’s in any way banal, rather infinitely listenable. There are still three big personalities in the room, they are just less frantically busy than before, making way for a more spacious, relaxed production that succeeds in its aim to draw in a potentially wider audience. The “rough-hewn soundscapes” as they were once described have undergone a slight smoothing over. Drummer Dom Burkhalter and vocalist Black Cracker are still tremendous forces of nature, but their coming together is less of an urgent sound grenade going off in your face, more a measured invitation to a modern, urban sound that has time to unfold its magic.

Sleek lines, incisive statements

The accompanying video is an equally clever translation of the Grand Pianoramax world of aesthetics. Sleek lines, incisive statements made with arty humour all in a chiaroscuro setting, peppered with stylish handclaps, head nods and bursts of colour. It sums up all that is great and good about this band : three strong, contrasting elements craftily blended together into a faultless balancing act. Skillful execution prevails in sight and sound. Watch this video carefully – do we see better with our eyes open or shut?

Constantly pushing each other forwards

Leo is used to being asked about his split identity between solo piano career and Grand Pianoramax bandleader. Both projects are of equal importance to him. “With GP we are constantly pushing each other forward into new frontiers. Despite all three members living in different geographical locations, we work incredibly well together and make use of the space between us to develop creative ideas individually. My piano melodies often work as the basic framework around which we then weave our contributions to the form”. He admits to being very positive about the new label and the new releases. “The goal is clearly to touch more people, why hide the fact we’re looking to be more successful?” The EP is out now on vinyl and digital release, followed by an LP in early September this year.


Forthcoming gigs:

20th June: Fête de La Musique, Genève

29th  August: Auvernier Jazz Festival, CH

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