Press Quotes

“… awesome…” - Nathan Turk, Signal To Noise

“… Grillot… impressive…” - Jay Collins, Cadence Magazine

“François Grillot… cooks to the boiling point” - Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz

“…Grillot's bass… shines through” - David Dupont, One Final Note

“… a dark tone and rare aggression.” - John Chacona, One Final Note

“… rock solid bass lines” - Chris Forbes, Cosmic Debris

“Grillot reinforces …time…” - Rex Butters, All About Jazz


Since François Grillot arrived from Paris in 1980, he has been a part of the story of jazz and improvised music in New York City.

Soon after acquiring his very first contrabass, he started playing around town. One of his first regular gigs was with guitarist Bill Bickford at the legendary Augie’s jazz club, which was an important proving ground for up-and-coming jazz artists.

While maintaining a busy schedule of performing around New York City, François devoted much time and energy to the study of his craft: he studied jazz harmony and writing at City College of NY, took lessons with Linda McKnight, and studied at the East Harlem Music School run by Johnny Colon. He also participated in workshops run by Barry Harris, Dave Holland and Jazz Mobile, among others.

Throughout the 90’s, François continued to develop his style and artistry, performing in a multitude of clubs and bars throughout New York City, working with Bill Bickford, Harold Danko, Mike Clark, Ken Hatfield, and many others.

In 1994, he met Matt Lavelle at the Rainy Daze Jam Session, which had a major impact on his musical direction. The two began a fruitful musical partnership that continues today. They began to rehearse regularly in François’ Hell’s Kitchen apartment (in the kitchen, coincidentally) and developed their own approach to playing standards that stretched the music nearly into free improvisation, but always came back to the theme. This process of rigorous, disciplined, yet soulful experimentation remains a salient characteristic of François’ working method and artistry.

François has collaborated with many of jazz’s most creative and distinguished practitioners: Albey Balgochian, Louie Belogenis, Charles Burnham, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, Will Connell, Robert Dick, Marc Edwards, Charles Gayle, Burton Greene, Lou Grassi, William Hooker, Jason Hwang, Jackson Krall, Klaus Kugel, Daniel Levin, Mat Maneri, Michael Marcus, Sabir Mateen, Dom Minasi, Anders Nilsson, Bern Nix, Kevin Norton, William Parker, Jay Rosen, Steve Swell, Michael T.A. Thompson, Michael Wimberly, and many others.

He performs in jazz clubs throughout New York City and beyond, including 55 Bar, Barbes, Bowery Poetry Club, The Knitting Factory, The Lenox Lounge, Zebulon, and, until they was closed down a few years ago, the historic venues CBGB’s and Tonic. François’ festival performances include repeat appearances at New York’s Vision Festival and Hell’s Kitchen Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and throughout Europe, most recently at the Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden.

Early Days

François, age 8, attended the local music school of Chatenoy-le- Royal, and played the cornet in it's marching band. Then took guitar lessons with Alain Licandro, which lead to the electric bass, playing local bands., and starting to improvise and write. 1978, recorded and toured with Edition Speciale, of guitarist Mimi Lorenzini (RCA - Horizon Digital) 1979, recorded and toured with Mama Bea Tekielski (RCA - Le Chaos) 1980, was playing Ska in London with locals and came back to Burgundy to record with Drummer Serge Bringolf (Omega - Strave) Move to New York in late 1980 and has been living there since.