Manuel Rocheman comes from a family of musicians. On his mother’s side, his grandmother is a piano teacher, his grandfather a flautist, his mother plays cello and viola and his aunt the violin. His father, Lionel Rocheman (guitarist and actor), created the “Hootenanny” at the American Center in Paris, where performers came from around the world. As a 10 year old his brother gave him a wonderful record of Oscar Peterson playing solo (it was ‘Tracks’); Manuel already had his own track-record of four years of piano.
Listening to the Canadian virtuoso gave him a great feeling of freedom and made him want to go down the same road. He was entirely won over by the harmony and rhythm of the language of Jazz. Pianist Bob Vatel invited him to come and jam in Paris Jazz clubs when he was 12. Manuel had to get himself technically equipped, which he did by meeting Alberto Neuman at the C.N.R de Paris, one of the rare disciples of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. At his side he greatly developed his piano technique. He also took music academy courses in writing and percussion. In parallel he worked with Jazz pianists Gabriel Garvanoff and Michel Sardaby.
While staying in New York in 1980 he met Tommy Flanagan and Jaki Byard who urged him on. He kept in close touch with them until they passed away. That same year Bob Vatel introduced him to Martial Solal and as chance would have it Martial accepted to take Manuel on as his only pupil.