Jean-Michel Pilc: Follow Me (2004)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A solo piano album is all about personal expression. The artist chooses to interpret with open harmony or denser measures, tightly packed or open wide. The rhythm, naturally, does not depend on teamwork. The artist is able to follow his muse freely.
Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc captures the essence of jazz and blues; but he also permeates his interpretations with tinges of the classical music of a formative Western Europe. A native of Paris, the 45-year-old self-taught artist has been surrounded by great music since childhood. He was introduced to jazz at age eight.
His delicate introductions to each piece pull you in gently. Gradually, he builds and expands the musical forces in several directions simultaneously. Each piece grows slowly and purposefully. Dissonance and spontaneity, however, remain a part of his arsenal from start to finish. Slow and careful restraint holds each piece in check while Pilc explores with a casual air. It's contagious. You feel yourself being drawn into his dreams.
"Autumn Leaves" takes on a fresh coat as the pianist moves spontaneously with its revered theme. A personal favorite, the song has been addressed by many. Pilc brings it to the forum as if we've never heard it before. Same with Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin.'" He's having fun creating these interpretations, and we, in turn, are able to enjoy the party.
Track Listing: Follow Me; Les Amants d'un Jour; St. Louis Blues; My Favorite Things; If I Should Lose You; St. James Infirmary; Happiness Seven; One for My Baby; The Racoon; Autumn Leaves; Ain't Misbehavin'; Beaver Dam; Vous Qui Passez San Me Voir; B Minor Waltz; Oleo; Les Copains D'Abord.
Personnel: Jean-Michel Pilc- piano, whistling on "One for my Baby."
Record Label: Dreyfus Records
Style: Modern Jazz