Cédric Hanriot, Pianst, Komponist und Hochschullehrer

Cédric Hanriot

Cédric Hanriot, pianist, composer, arranger, sound designer, and music producer with an atypical background, released Time is Color, a surprisingly powerful hip-hop jazz album, revealing a singular personality as transversal as it is luminous.

Win­ner of pres­ti­gious schol­ar­ships and inter­na­tion­al awards, Cédric Han­ri­ot is known world­wide for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with Her­bie Han­cock, Ter­ri Lyne Car­ring­ton, Robert Glasper, Don­ny McClaslin, and oth­er big names in the jazz world. With Time is Col­or, the sec­ond album under his own name, Cédric Han­ri­ot engages in a liv­ing cre­ation that is res­olute­ly per­son­al and anchored in his time.

Native of Pont-à-Mous­son cur­rent­ly resid­ing in Paris, Cédric Han­ri­ot felt his first shiv­ers lis­ten­ing to the jin­gles of Europe 1. He learned the piano on a Fend­er Rhodes, on which he would lat­er redis­cov­er the bril­liance of this par­tic­u­lar sound while work­ing with Her­bie Han­cock. Music trans­port­ed him, deeply moved him, and pro­tect­ed him. It also gave him the nec­es­sary con­fi­dence to offer arrange­ments to the funk rock group Noto­ri­ous in its ear­ly days, who were quick­ly charmed by this self-taught pianist who came knock­ing at their door. Cédric Han­ri­ot then joined the group. There, he met bassist Bertrand Béru­ard who would accom­pa­ny him through­out his career.

For three years, Noto­ri­ous tra­versed France and Cédric Han­ri­ot per­formed more than 200 con­certs with the group before embark­ing on a more per­son­al musi­cal adven­ture. He learned sal­sa from sea­soned Colom­bian musi­cians in the Hura­can ensem­ble, he accom­pa­nied the gui­tarist Jean Marie Vigu­ier and the drum­mer Franck Agul­hon, as he con­tin­ued to enrich his work. At the same time, he stud­ied for a Mas­ters in Elec­tri­cal Engi­neer­ing in Nan­cy where he excelled in math­e­mat­ics and trained in sig­nal pro­cess­ing, sound design, and elec­tron­ic sound syn­the­sis.

At 31 years of age, Cédric Han­ri­ot ben­e­fit­ed from the pres­ti­gious Amer­i­can Ful­bright schol­ar­ship to study at the Berklee Col­lege of Music in Boston, USA. There, he attract­ed the atten­tion of one of his pro­fes­sors, Ter­ri Lyne Car­ring­ton, the drum­mer of Her­bie Han­cock and Wayne Short­er, win­ner of three Gram­my Awards. She would go on to co-pro­duce French Sto­ries, released in 2011, the first solo album of Cédric Han­ri­ot, with John Pat­i­tuc­ci on bass. A few months lat­er, Her­bie Han­cock pro­posed that Cédric come to his stu­dio in Los Ange­les to assist him for a month in prepa­ra­tion for his solo piano world tour in 2012.
Cédric Han­ri­ot would lat­er serve as pianist and sound design­er on Dianne Reeves’s album Beau­ti­ful Life, which won the Gram­my Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2015.

Curi­ous, attract­ed by sur­pris­ing mix­tures, and fond of new open­ings, Cédric Han­ri­ot seeks to con­sid­er and approach crossovers dif­fer­ent­ly. To breathe fresh­ness into his cre­ations, he draws inspi­ra­tion from great clas­si­cal com­posers (Fau­ré, Rav­el, Mes­si­aen, Chopin), but he also draws equal­ly from elec­tron­ic music, hip-hop (Com­mon, Kendrick Lamar), neo-soul (Ange­lo, Erykah Badu), and pop, all while link­ing it to his pro­found­ly jazz iden­ti­ty (Bud Pow­ell, Errol Gar­ner, George Duke, Brad Mehldau).

Just as Bartók did with his imag­i­nary folk­lores, Cédric Han­ri­ot appro­pri­ates mate­r­i­al encoun­tered through­out his trav­els. In the project Polaroid Sounds (2018), a musi­cal trav­el note­book, he sculpt­ed tex­tures and cre­at­ed pieces around an Indone­sian scale, from chaabi music, or even from voic­es in the Tokyo metro – writ­ing all of this for a sym­pho­ny orches­tra and jazz trio. In 2022, Cédric Han­ri­ot released his last album, Time is Col­or, under his label Mor­pho­sis Arts, cre­at­ed in 2019. Time is Col­or is a sin­gu­lar work, a pow­er­ful mix­ture of jazz, hip-hop, and urban music – an album that resem­bles himself.

The enthu­si­as­tic recep­tion of Time is Col­or by the pub­lic as well as the press tes­ti­fies to the strength of the mag­ic oper­at­ed by Cédric Han­ri­ot. The choice to unre­served­ly take on his authen­tic­i­ty, his open­ness to a rich range of musi­cal gen­res, and his qua­si-sci­en­tif­ic sen­si­tiv­i­ty to col­ors, tex­tures, and musi­cal dimen­sions has borne fruit. Time is Col­or, launched on Sep­tem­ber 9, 2022, has been the sub­ject of a num­ber of glow­ing reviews (Le Monde, Blues and Soul Mag­a­zine, The Jazz Shows with Jamie Cul­lum, among oth­ers). The album was quick­ly vot­ed CHOC by Jazz Mag­a­zine, 5‑stars by BBC Mag­a­zine, and ranked among the ten best albums of the year 2022 by the Eng­lish mag­a­zine MOJO. 

Along­side the suc­cess of his per­son­al projects, Cédric Han­ri­ot con­tin­ues his musi­cal explo­ration with great musi­cians who come from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. He bril­liant­ly accom­pa­nies the projects of Maria Mendes & the Metropol Orkesta, Mini­no Garay, Gré­goire Maret, Tim Miller, Wayne Escoffery, Ben Pow­ell, Michael Janisch, and Michel Meis. 

Pas­sion­ate about shar­ing his tal­ents, Cédric Han­ri­ot accom­pa­nies young gen­er­a­tions of musi­cians through­out the world with mas­ter­class­es. He devotes one day per week to share his expe­ri­ences and knowl­edge at The Amer­i­can School of Mod­ern Music in Paris, where he teach­es piano impro­vi­sa­tion and advanced harmony.

This man, who has accom­pa­nied the mas­ters of jazz for ten years now, is now becom­ing one of them, an unclas­si­fi­able artist who search­es for the right sounds and col­ors with a del­i­cate stub­born­ness. His eclec­tic musi­cal uni­verse reflects the atyp­i­cal back­ground of a self-taught musi­cian who built him­self at his own time, and above all, in his own tem­po­ral­i­ty. Cédric Han­ri­ot is an inven­tive artist, inhab­it­ed by an embed­ded rich inte­ri­or, which is expressed with a mix­ture of strength and finesse as rare as it is precious.

By Han­nah Star­man
Eng­lish trans­la­tion by Nate Phillips