Live at Smoke
Photo by Jimmy Katz
Critics used to complain that Jacky Terrasson relied excessively on chops, which was nonsense — the young pianist always displayed a profound awareness of musical texture, even when unleashing furious flurries of notes. At any rate, those complaints certainly don’t hold water now: Terrasson’s playing has grown increasingly sparse since 1997’s Alive! (Blue Note). Reunited for two nights with that great trio — completed by Leon Parker (drums) and Ugonna Okegwo (bass) — Terrasson unveiled an aesthetic that was practically minimalistic. Moving slyly from piano to Fender Rhodes on "Willow Weep for Me," Terrasson would perhaps let half the bridge go by without playing a note; Okegwo and Parker would stir the waters in preparation for Terrasson’s next stab. Such an approach not only builds tension and release; it engages the audience by leaving plenty to the imagination. A similar logic prevailed on "Reach," "First Child," "Days of Wine and Roses," and "Cumba’s Dance." Milking grooves and vamps like there was no tomorrow, the Terrasson trio proved that, after three unforgettable albums together, they still have plenty left to say.