Smail Benhouhou grew up in Algiers and began to study the piano at the age of 8.
He continued his studies (in piano and harmony), in Paris and at the Cologne University of Music in Germany where he obtained his diploma with distinction.
Alongside his classical music courses, he also studied the jazz piano and improvisation at the jazz department of the Cologne University of Music with famous teachers such as Jiggs Wigham and the well known English pianist and teacher John Taylor.
Coming back to Paris, Smail Benhouhou worked on symphonic orchestration commissioned by various Parisian orchestras such as "l'Orchestre Pasdeloup", "l'Orchestre Symphonique Algérie-France" and "l'Orchestre Divertimento".
At the same time he started working with various world music artists, such as Djamel Laroussi, the ONB (Orchestre National de Barbes), Cheb Mami. Those encounters with some of the world’s best North African musicians enabled him to acquire an intimate and thorough knowledge of Algerian music. Besides those traditional music forms, Smail's style was also deeply influenced by such lodestars of modern popular music as Supertramp, Stevie Wonder and the Beatles. In jazz, he performed with Munjungo Jackson (Stevie Wonder), Chico Freeman, Karim Ziad, Djamel Laroussi, Decebal Badila and Mokhtar Samba
New Album "On the road"
By creating his own Quartet, Smail Benhouhou has decided to put together all the riches gleaned from his various musical experiences. His compositions are a search for the beauty of the melodic line while leaving a large space for improvisation and keeping a strong focus on the re-interpretation of traditional music - styles such as Gnawa, Châabi or the Caribbean Biguine. The result is a rich blend of subtle harmonic and rhythmic originality. The distinct character of this project is expressed through the avenue of performing acoustically to convey a pure and direct sound to the audience, as performed in classical music as well as in some traditional music forms.