Jean Kapsa: Echoing Jazz Innovation With Rhodes MK8/75AE Piano

Jean Kapsa: Echoing Jazz Innovation With Rhodes MK8/75AE Piano

Celebrating the Intersection of Timeless Craftsmanship and Contemporary Jazz

Paris, France, January 19, 2024 — In the evolving landscape of contemporary jazz, French pianist and composer Jean Kapsa stands out with his dedication to authentic musical expression and a deep-rooted passion for his craft. Jean's relationship with the Rhodes sound traces back to his childhood, first encountering its distinctive timbre on a digital keyboard at the tender age of nine. This iconic sound, reminiscent of the Rhodes piano, resonated in the jazz records played in his family home, with masterful tracks by legends like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Throughout his musical journey, Jean's path crossed with the Rhodes in various rehearsal spaces and venues, where he had fleeting opportunities to play the authentic instrument, yet it remained a distant treasure he never possessed.


​The narrative of Jean Kapsa's musical voyage reached a pivotal moment recently when he was honored as the chosen recipient of the Rhodes MK8/75AE, bearing the serial number 0. This instrument is not just any piano; it's a symbol of heritage and innovation, with only 75 exquisitely crafted gold and black models ever produced. This acquisition is not merely an addition to his instrument collection; it's a testament to his enduring dedication and a reflection of the enduring legacy of Rhodes artisanal excellence. For Jean, receiving this rare and coveted instrument marks a significant milestone, intertwining his personal odyssey with the storied history of Rhodes pianos—a journey that echoes the essence of his musical pursuits and aspirations.

​Jean Kapsa's musical journey began in the picturesque south of France, where his early exposure to jazz set the foundation for a lifelong pursuit. Influenced by masters like Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau, Jean honed his skills, adopting elements of their intricate improvisation and unique compositional styles. His journey led him to the vibrant jazz scene of Paris, a city synonymous with artistic flourishing. Here, Kapsa's talent for improvisation and his unique approach to composition have made him a prominent figure. His collaborations with various musicians both in Paris and internationally have seen him perform at esteemed venues and festivals across Europe, further cementing his reputation.


Photo by Daniel Dittus
Photo by Daniel Dittus

​Kapsa's discography as a co-leader reflects a diverse range of influences, underpinned by a commitment to exploring different musical styles. His work extends beyond performance; Kapsa has also lent his compositional skills to film and theatre productions, showcasing his versatility as an artist.

​Kapsa's career has entered an exciting new phase with his recent signing to LEITER, the label founded by renowned German musician and composer Nils Frahm and his long-time manager Felix Grimm. His latest work, 'Syncline', released on digital platforms on November 24, 2023, is a testament to his artistic integrity. Recorded in the intimate setting of his Parisian home, this collection of six solo pieces captures the essence of Kapsa's connection to his craft. The album draws inspiration from the natural beauty of the Saou forest near his hometown, blending subtle piano melodies with ambient soundscapes. Each track invites listeners to engage with the music on a personal level, fostering a space for individual interpretation and reflection.


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​For Jean Kapsa, the Rhodes MK8/75AE has opened new avenues in his musical exploration. Reflecting on his experience, Jean says, "It's funny because usually, I work on the piano and I start to improvise to find ideas. Now I start on the piano and then move to the Rhodes to hear how the idea sounds. It leads me to other pieces because you cannot play exactly the same thing. It is a different instrument and its unique sound ​ inspired me to play with it." This intimate connection with both his traditional piano and the unique qualities of the Rhodes underscores how the latter has become a significant part of his artistic expression.

​Jean's first impression of the Rhodes also speaks volumes about his appreciation for the instrument's tactile and authentic experience. "I could feel the vibrations of the tines on the keyboard," he recalls, noting the unique physical sensation distinctive to Rhodes. This experience, for Jean, enriches his engagement with music, allowing him to connect with an instrument that complements his passion for real, tangible musical expression.


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​Jean Kapsa is set to mark a new milestone in his musical journey with the release of a new track on March 8, 2024, featuring his Rhodes piano. This upcoming piece, an integral part of LEITER's annual Piano Day compilation, highlights the depth of Kapsa's artistry and his dynamic use of the Rhodes piano. This release is a significant addition to his repertoire, showcasing the continued evolution of his music and his collaboration with an iconic instrument.

​Jean Kapsa's journey with the Rhodes MK8/75AE is not merely an addition to his musical arsenal; it's a gateway to an exhilarating realm of artistic possibilities. “This Rhodes isn't just inspiring; it's transformative. I can already feel new compositions emerging, fuelled by its unique sound and design,” Kapsa reflects. This deep engagement symbolizes a harmonious fusion of innovation and heritage, where Kapsa's exploratory musical style intersects with the timeless quality of Rhodes music. This collaboration underscores how Rhodes continues to be a pivotal force, spurring artists like Kapsa to craft music that resonates across generations.

​Explore Jean Kapsa’s musical journey and stay up-to-date with his latest endeavors by visiting his official website or follow him on Instagram @jean.kapsa.

​Listen to Jean Kapsa's music on:
Apple Music

About Rhodes ​ ​
​For Rhodes loyalists around the world, this is a new chapter in Rhodes history; not a new book. With the Rhodes MK8, we’re returning to the principles, aesthetic, craftsmanship and pride of Harold Rhodes’ originals. We’re paying homage to the past with our gaze fixed firmly on what lies ahead.

Jeff Touzeau
Jeff Touzeau Hummingbird Media, Inc.
Hunter Williams
Hunter Williams Public Relations, Hummingbird Media, Inc.
240118_Rhodes_Jean Kapsa .docx 19 KB

Header image credit: Daniel Dittus

About Rhodes

For Rhodes loyalists around the world, this is a new chapter in Rhodes history; not a new book. Our goal is to create the best version of a Rhodes piano ever made. Nothing more, nothing less. With the Rhodes MK8, we’re returning to the principles, aesthetic, craftsmanship and pride of Harold Rhodes’ originals. We’re paying homage to the past with our gaze fixed firmly on what lies ahead. 

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