Eric Legnini was born in Belgium, on February 20th, 1970. He passed a childhood immersed in Bach and Puccini. In the beginning of the 1980s, the discovery of an Erroll Garner album revealed an entirely new musical horizon, especially when it came to keyboards. With his exceptional ear for music, he tinkered with these strange harmonies seized on the fly and quickly fell under the spell of jazz—Eric had found his means of expression.
He first made his mark in the mid-1990s as the young, discreet but highly talented pianist of the Stefano Di Battista quartet. His piano was a perfect foil for the fiery and voluble alto saxophonist. His open, generous style springs directly from the dark heart of jazz : rich phrasing, refined and sensual, always marrying itself effortlessly to the melody and the vocal. An exceptional talent for swing, grounded in a rigor and sobriety in his rhythmic placing worthy of the great masters of the hard bop. It was not long before Legnini became the grounding element amongst the disparate temperaments of the Di Battista quartet, as well as one of the most requested sidemen of the Rue des Lombards set.
In 2017, Eric Legninicomes back on stage as a leader : “Waxx Up”, released in March, and will conclude the trilogy he dedicated to the voices (which consists of The Vox in 2011 and Sing Twice in 2013). Alongside with his own trio (Franck Agulhon on drums, Daniel Romeo on electric bass), he invites a horn section and, of course, singers : Yael Naim, Charles X, Mathieu Boogaerts, Hugh Coltman, Natalie Williams and Michelle Willis.
The very first track sets the mood and gets to the core. “I Want You Back” is not a mere tasty teaser, it rather is a three-and-a-half minute invitation, all in one breath, to fully explore this record in which Eric Legnini switches roles—and therefore perspective : with his new album, the revered pianist becomes a producer, devoting extra care to what powerful tunes and classy rhythms can do. Waxx up speaks volume into our soul, as suggested by the loudspeaker on the sleeve’s visuals ; black wax has always been his fuel, his raw material, and Waxx up somehow offers itself as a sum of EPs, tailored for a chorus of voices that are fully organic to the artistic signature of Eric Legnini.
At the beginning of 2011, Eric Legnini released the album "The Vox", the press and the public were quite unanimous, a new story that lead to one of the greatest prize in France, " Victoire de la Musique" for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.
2013, the “Sing Twice !” album is released, which title sound like a good overview on Eric Legnini’s carrer. From “Miss Soul” (2005) to that album, we can take the measure of Eric’s reflections about his own music. This new album sounds more like pop music than any other in his discography. This shows how much the forty-year-old pianist and composer is now able to play on both fields, after having practiced alongside with the most famous jazz musicians in Belgium. “Sing Twice !” is nominated to the Victoires du Jazz (French Grammy Awards) on the same year. The alchemy is made from 3 major musicians (Thomas Bramerie on bass, Franck Agulhon on drums) and 3 of the most amazing voices (plus, on some tracks, a horn section, a funky guitar and some percussion from the Afro Jazz Beat). Hugh Coltman’s voice is the first one. Eric met him for the first time during Manu Katché’s TV show “One Shot Not”. Then he invited him for a show in Fall 2011. “He was bringing a more bluesy, soulful vibe… More “Stevie-like”.” It worked so well that, at the end, Hugh became a full-time band member, bringing to the album its main “soul pop” color, thanks to his unique vocal signature. Two other singers are bringing some complementary influences on this LP : Mali-born Mamani Keita (in a more afro funk inspired way), and Japanese-American singer Emi Meyer, on the folk side. “Mamani made me able to finish what I started on The Vox. Africa is still here, and is personified by this female Griot who put an intense energy in both tracks I submitted to her. On her side, Emi is offering another point of view, clearly more folk and pop”.