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Jean-Michel Pilc: Rocket Man

Jean-Michel Pilc

No one knows better than Jean-Michel Pilc that playing jazz isn’t rocket science. The pianist graduated from France’s leading telecommunications research university, a degree that led to a four-year gig in the mid-1980s as a scientist with the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, or CNES. But launching satellites couldn’t compete with Pilc’s passion for music, particularly his love of jazz.

“Every evening I went back home and practiced on the piano for five or six hours,” says Pilc, 45. “Sometimes I even left my job at lunchtime and instead of eating I practiced two hours at home.”

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