Born in Geneva, Switzerland May 1976, Leo Tardin started his musical training studying classical piano and playing drums in local rock groups. In his adolescence, he studied with Patrick Muller (Erik Truffaz) who inspired him to become a professional musician. In 1996, Leo received a scholarship from the Wilsdorf Foundation to study at the New School University in New York with musicians such as Reggie Workman, Richie Beirach, Hal Galper and Larry Goldings.
In 1999 he received the 1st prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival International Piano Solo Competition, a competition of 12 pianists pre-selected from around the globe, with George Duke as president of the jury.
Since then he has been working as a freelance musician living between New York and Geneva – working with musicians such as Enrico Rava, Frank Morgan, Toots Thielemans, Dave Liebman, Charles Tolliver, Tony Lakatos, and l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
He has also actively toured with various European groups such as the Matthieu Michel Group (Vienna Art Orchestra), Stefano Saccon's Underscore, Mats Up, and as a co-leader with the harmonica player Gregoire Maret (Meshell Ndegeocello, Cassandra Wilson).
After winning the Montreux Jazz Festival International Piano Solo Competition, he created the conceptual project Grand Pianoramax – an original repertoire blending improvisational jazz, modern beats and electronic elements in a live keyboards and drums duo setting.
First conceived as a solo performance, he soon explored this repertoire in duo with different drummers, as a way to add dynamics and interaction while keeping the harmonic and formal freedom of the original project. To broaden his sonic possibilities, he also integrated various electric and vintage keyboards (Minimoog, Fender Rhodes).
Finally, an encounter and performance with drum sensation Jojo Mayer in New York defined the actual direction of the duo: an eclectic, nu-jazz oriented live set ranging from ambient impressionist constructions to hybrid melodic compositions.
To keep an organic quality, the duo performs in an all live setting (no laptop or sequencer), at the most using occasionally a looper to re-record some elements in real time.