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Martial Solal in 2006, with his Newdecaband
Martial Solal (born August 23, 1927, Algiersmarker, Algeriamarker) is a Frenchmarker jazz pianist and composer, who is probably most widely known for the music he wrote for Jean-Luc Godard's debut feature film À bout de souffle (1960).


Solal was the son of an opera singer and piano teacher, who learned the instrument from the age of six. After settling in Parismarker in 1950, he soon began working with leading musicians including Django Reinhardt and expatriates from the United Statesmarker like Sidney Bechet and Don Byas. He formed a quartet (occasionally also leading a big band) in the late 1950s, although he had been recording as a leader since 1953. Solal then began composing film music, eventually providing over twenty scores.

In 1963 he made a much admired appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Islandmarker; the Newport '63 album purporting to be a recording of this gig is actually a studio recreation. At this time, his regular trio featured bassist Guy Pedersen and drummer Daniel Humair. From 1968 he regularly performed and recorded with Lee Konitz in Europe and the United States of Americamarker.

In recent years, Martial Solal has continued to perform and record with his trio. Throughout his career he has performed solo, and during 1993-94 he gave thirty solo concerts for French Radio, a selection of performances from which were subsequently released in a 2-CD set Improvise Pour Musique France by JMS Records.

Solal has also written a piano method book entitled Jazz Works.


  • 1953: The Complete Vogue Recordings, Vol. 1 – Trios And Quartet (Vogue/BMG, 1953–56)
  • 1954: The Complete Vogue Recordings, Vol. 2 – Trios And Solos (Vogue/BMG, 1954–56)
  • 1955: The Complete Vogue Recordings, Vol. 1 – Trio And Big Band (Vogue/BMG, 1955–58)
  • 1965: Solal Series – Zo-Ko-So (MPS) with Hans Koller and Attila Zoller
  • 1970: Sans Tambour Ni Trompette (RCA)
  • 1971: En Solo (RCA)
  • 1975: Duo In Paris (Musica Records) with Joachim Kühn
  • 1975: Plays Ellington (Musica)
  • 1979: Four Keys (Pausa Records)
  • 1983: Bluesine (Soul Note)
  • 1984: Plays Hodeir (OMD)
  • 1984: Martial Solal Big band (Dreyfus)
  • 1990: Tryptique (Adda)
  • 1993: Solal-Lockwood (JMS)
  • 1993: Improvisie Pour France Musique (JMS)
  • 1994: Triangle (JMS) with Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine
  • 1997: Just Friends (Dreyfus) with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian
  • 1998: Ballade du 10 Mars (Soul Note)
  • 1998: Jazz’n (e)motion (BMG/RCA)


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