Denis Colin starts learning piano as a child. He finally switches to the bass clarinet. His preference goes to the sound potential of this instrument, potential he since never ceased to explore.
From 1975, he sharpens his free jazz practice, in particular with Alan Silva’s Celestrial Communication Orchestra (from 1977 to 1985). In 1977, with François Cotinaud, he starts the band Texture. From 1981 to 1990, he’s a member of Luc Masne’s Bekummernis of and also collaborates with the pianist François Tusques.
Founded in 1991, his trio with Didier Petit (cello) and Pablo Cueco (zarb, Iranian drum) shows an important evolution prefigured by the recording of an album entirely carried out in solo (Seul, 1990) This album marks a departure: search of another language and new references that offer more structured patterns while keeping free improvisation as the main dramatic spur. On its new tracks, the trio explores the horizon of traditional musics and contemporary chamber music. It pays attention to the textures generated by the unusual association of their instruments and the improvisation on combined measures (five albums are recorded between 1993 and 2002). Other orchestras like Les Arpenteurs, created in April 1995 with Bruno Girard (violin) and Camel Zekri (guitar), or Dans les cordes (2000) start gravitating around this core.
In 2001, after a decade exploring his own compositions, Denis Colin tackles for the first time to a repertoire of tunes deeply rooted in the afro-american culture (from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Wonder through John Coltrane) during a recording session in Minneapolis. The album in question interrogates his relation with black music : Something in Common. Still with his trio members, playing with a gospel choir and with rappers is a new challenge. His concern is to find out how to transpose the power of singing to the low clarinet playing. Thereafter, he keeps experimenting by collaborating with the singer Gwen Matthews. This leads to the recording of a second album in the United States, Song for Swans (2005).
It also writes the music of several cartoons by Florence Miailhe (César in 2002 for Au premier dimanche d’août, Special Mention to the festival of Cannes in 2006 for Conte de quartier). During these same years, he will also play as a guest of the Archie Shepp Quartet.
In 2008, Denis Colin calls upon a new and younger team, and creates La Société des Arpenteurs, a multiple-geometry band with which it will record two albums, Subject to change (2009) and Subject to live en 2011. This same year, creation of two movies concerts : Le cabinet du Docteur Caligari et Le cycle Charley Bowers gathering several short films by this very samed film maker, with Vincent Peirani on accordion and Benoit Lugué on electric bass.
In 2012, it starts a new musical and human adventure with the singer Ornette : Univers Nino, a tribute to Nino Ferrer.
Since 2015, he plays regularly in the Théâtre d’Epernay and several other cultural places in Essonne. In April 2017, he creates EN PARTANCE (cinq musiciens et une récitante).(five musicians and one narrator). In January 2018, he creates the Cabaret de l’Ailleurs, with Estelle Meyer and Claude Tchamitchian.