Born and raised in Grenoble, France, Romain studied first with local teachers, and in 1998 received a Scholarship to study at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While studying at Berklee from 1999 to 2002, Romain received 3 awards distinguishing him as an exception talent. While in his last semester at Berklee, Romain had the distinct honor of being chosen out of more than 1000 students, to represent the Berklee Guitar Department by performing the opening act for the guitarist Pat Metheny. While in still in Boston, he was featured on grammy nominated trumpeter, Christian Scott’s first album. He also shared the stage with Warren Wolf, Esperanza Spalding, Lionel Loueke…In 2002 Romain graduated with his Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from Berklee.
In 2003, Romain moved to Paris and formed his own band with some of the most promising talents of the French jazz scene. He released two albums with this group. The first of these albums, "The Romain Pilon/David Prez," was released in 2005 on the renowned Spanish record label, Fresh Sound New Talent. His debut album was described as a ‟revelation” by Jazz Magazine. The second album, “II," came out in 2008, and was also very well received by the press in France. This album received four stars in Jazz Magazine, who wrote "Surely of the most sincere and enthusiastic jazz group -and album- to emerge in France."
In 2009 Pilon formed the artist collective with David Prez and Sandro Zerafa, "Paris Jazz Underground." They toured Brazil two times, playing in over ten cities, and released the self entitled album, "Paris Jazz Underground,” which was described as a "Revelation" in Jazz Magazine (France) and received the highest rating, "Choc," in Jazzman (France).
In 2010, Pilon recorded his first album as a leader, “Ny3," with an all star American rhythm section comprised of drummer, Colin Stranahan and double bassist, Matt Brewer. With this album the guitarist made a big impact on the French scene and received the best possible ranks in the two main jazz papers of France: Jazz News (Top of the month) and Jazz Magazine (Choc). It was also selected in the list of the "92 modern jazz recordings you need to listen to," on the website “learnjazzstandards.com."
His second album was released in 2013 on the UK label, Whirlwind Recordings, and featured the wonderful tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III. The recording, entitled “Colorfield", was named one of the best of 2013 by Jazz News (top 6 of the month), it received 4 stars in UK magazine, Jazz Wise. The Financial Times gave the album 4 stars and hailed Pilon as "a world class player." The group played in London’s prestigious Kings Place for their CD release concert and also went on to perform in France, Italy and Portugal.
Pilon’s third album, "The Magic Eye," was released on the French Label Jazz&People and featured his regular trio plus two US tenor saxophonists: once again Walter Smith III and Ben Wendel. One of the leading tenor saxophonist of his generation, Wendel has worked among others such as Snoop Dog, Prince and is the founder of Grammy-nominated group, Kneebody. “The Magic Eye" gathered great reviews in France: "top 6 of the month" in Jazz News, French radio France Musique qualified the album as "profound poetry".
The magazine “Guitarist" featured a full page on Romain Pilon’s influences, gear, upcoming projects.
Pilon’s fourth album came out in 2017 (Jazz&People label). “Copper," an ambitious project, confirmed Pilon as one of the most creative musicians currently living in Europe. This electric oriented recording features US tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake (John Scofield, Mingus Orchestra..)
Jazz Podium (Germany) wrote: "a wonder of style and taste," Jazz Wise (En) said it was "an impressive eight cut set" and Jazz Magazine again ranked it with the highest ratings, “Choc," and stated it as a "powerful and seminal" album.
In 2018, Pilon started a co-lead project with the great American bass player Jeff Denson and special guest legendary drummer Brian Blade.
(Chick Corea,, Joshua Redman, Wayne Shorter...)
The trio released there first album "Between two Worlds" in 2019, followed by a two important tours in the Usa with over 16 cities visited. Jazz Times Magazine stated : "Pilon glides through the music with a superb sense of confidence..."
Pilon' fifth album as a leader, his first standards album,
was released in march 2022. "Falling Grace" features Israeli bass player Yoni Zelnik and iconic drummer Jeff Ballard (Brad Mehldau, Ray Charles, Chick Corea...). The album received once again a warm welcome from the press : TTT in Telerama, Choc in JazzMagazine, Album on the week on FIP, HIT Couleurs Jazz and Jazz Wise (Uk) wrote : « Pilon has a flawless technique and a delicacy of sound that makes his expositions of these familiar pieces about mesmeric »
In January 2022 Jeff Denson, Brian Blade and Pilon reunited again in Oakland to record the second volume of their adventures :
"Finding Light", to be released sept 2022.
Romain Pilon’s band has played in many clubs all over Europe - Musig Im Pflegidash (Muri), Jazz Station (Belgium), Duc des Lombards (Paris), Hot Club in Lisbon, and in festivals such as Malta Jazz Festival, La Londe Jazz festival, Crescent Jazz festival, Saint Omer Jaaz festival, Vitoria Jazz Festival, Ezcaray Jazz Festival …
As an accompanist, Pilon cultivates an extraordinary versatility. His ability to play both traditional jazz and the most modern forms of this art has made him a much in demand sideman. He plays/has played with the Keystone Big Band (winner of a "Victoire du Jazz" for best group in 2018) Grammy award winner Keyon Harrold, bassist Linda May Han Oh, Ibrahim Maalouf, pianist Frank Woeste, Sam Yahel, Pierre de Bethmann, Anne Paceo, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, Perico Sambeat, Belgian trumpet player Jean Paul Estievenart, Jure Pukl, Greg Hutchinson, Charlier/Sourisse and many more.
His collaborations have led him to play at jazz landmarks such as Recife Jazz Festival in Brazil, EuroJazz Mexico, Brosella Jazz Festival, New Morning in Paris, Kreol Jazz Festival in Cap Verde…
Aside from his career as a performer, Romain Pilon is a renown pedagogue, and has lead master classes and workshops in France, Spain, USA, England, Portugal, to name a few. In 2016 he started a YouTube series entitled "Jazz Guitar Mini Lessons,” which has been a huge success in the guitar community, with more than 8000 downloads of the pdf files and over 650000 views on the videos.
He teaches at Imep Paris, Pole Sup Paris (Pspbb), he is also a visiting artist at CMDL and is on faculty at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, California.