Legrand has composed more than two hundred film and television scores, several musicals, and made well over a hundred albums. He has won three Oscars (out of 13 nominations), five Grammys, and has been nominated for an Emmy. He was twenty-two when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released. He is a virtuoso jazz and classical pianist and an accomplished arranger and conductor who performs with orchestras all over the world. He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from 1943-50 (ages 11-20), working with, among others, Nadia Boulanger, the teacher also of many other composers, including Aaron Copland and Philip Glass. Legrand graduated with top honors as both a composer and a pianist.
In the early 1950s, Legrand was one of the first Europeans to work with jazz innovators such as Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz. His jazz-oriented projects, though infrequent, have been almost uniformly outstanding. While on a visit to the U.S. in 1958, Legrand collaborated with such musicians as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Phil Woods, Ben Webster, Hank Jones, and Art Farmer in an album of inventive orchestrations of jazz standards titled Legrand Jazz. The following year, back in Paris with bassist Guy Pedersen and percussionist Gus Wallez, he recorded an album of Paris-themed songs arranged for jazz piano trio, titled Paris Jazz Piano.
Nearly a decade later he recorded At Shelly's Manne-Hole (1968), a live trio session with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, in which four of the compositions were improvised on the spot. Legrand also provided an odd scat vocal on "My Funny Valentine." After another decade had elapsed, Legrand returned to jazz and collaboration with Phil Woods on Jazz Le Grand (1979) and After the Rain (1982); then he collaborated with violinist Stephane Grappelli on an album in 1992. Not as well received as his earlier work was a 1994 album for LaserLight titled Michel Plays Legrand.
Here's "Windmills Of Your Mind" from above album.
More recently, in 2002, he recorded a masterful solo jazz piano album reworking fourteen of his classic songs, Michel Legrand by Michel Legrand. His jazz piano style is virtuosic and eclectic, drawing upon such influences as Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, and Bill Evans.
During various periods of creative work, Legrand became a conductor for orchestras in St. Petersburg, Vancouver, Montreal, Atlanta, and Denver. He recorded more than one hundred albums with international musical stars (spanning the genres of jazz, variety, and classical) and worked with such diverse musicians as Phil Woods, Ray Charles, Perry Como, Neil Diamond, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, James Ingram, Jack Jones, Kiri te Kanawa, Frankie Laine, Tereza Kesovija, Johnny Mathis, Jessye Norman, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Bassey and Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez.
Legrand is known principally as a composer of innovative music for films, composing film scores (about two hundred to date) for directors Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Claude Lelouch, Clint Eastwood, Robert Altman, and many others. Legrand himself appears and performs in Agnès Varda's French New Wave classic, Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961). After his songs appeared in Jacques Demy's films The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1966), Legrand became famous worldwide. Les Parapluies de Cherbourg was a sung-through musical in which all the dialogue was set to music, a revolutionary concept at the time.
Hollywood soon became interested in Legrand after Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, bombarding him with requests to compose music for films. Having begun to collaborate with Hollywood, Legrand continued to work there for many years. Among his best-known scores are those for The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), which features the hit song The Windmills of Your Mind, and Summer of '42 (1971), which features another hit song, "The Summer Knows." Legrand also wrote the score for Orson Welles's last-completed film, F for Fake (1974).
Currently, Legrand divides his time between America and France
(info edited from Wikipedia)
There are lots of video clips of Michel but I have chosen this little gem. Nana Mouskouri & Michel Legrand - Duo - Quand On S''Aime - Octobre 1965
E.Marnay / M.Legrand. Rediffusion Télé Mélody