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Dreyfus Records: Crossing Continents with Music

By Published: August 26, 2010
In many ways, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc's playing can be seen as the perfect synthesis between the romanticism of Michel Petrucciani
Michel Petrucciani
Michel Petrucciani
b.1962
piano
and the modernism of Martial Solal. True Story, published in 2010, finds him in an adventurous trio setting with bassist Boris Koslov and drummer Billy Hart. While "High Sky—The Elegant Universe," "Kingston NY" and "B.B.B.," with their forceful block chords, almost violent outbursts and challenging harmonies, all lie close to the school of Monk and Solal, there is also a fragile lyricism at work which contradicts and supplements the high-pressured energy. Pilc is able, within the same song, to play like a hammer and a feather. Besides a clear nod to jazz tradition in the shape of a playful version of Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," a notable influence from classical music, especially the romantic music of Franz Schubert, is apparent. Thus, "Relic" is a beautiful jazzy reworking of a composition by the legendary German. Unlike Franck Avitabile, another classically influenced jazz-pianist on the Dreyfus label, whose tonal language lies close to impressionism, Pilc's compositions are perfectly suited to the dramatic ebb and flow of romanticism. He never loses himself in abstract doodling, but, in spite of his experimentalism, always has a story to tell.

Aldo Romano

Origine

Dreyfus Records

2010

The strain of modernism which can be followed on Dreyfus does not only include pianists like Martial Solal and Jean-Michel Pilc, but also drummer Aldo Romano
Aldo Romano
Aldo Romano
b.1941
drums
, saxophonist Rosario Giuliani and guitarist Philip Catherine
Philip Catherine
Philip Catherine
b.1942
guitar
. Romano is one of a prominent line of drummers who have recorded for Dreyfus, the most famous being Roy Haynes, who has received a special treatment in the shape of a luxurious box set: A Life in Time: The Roy Haynes Story (Dreyfus, 2007). As a stylist, Romano lies closer to the fluorescent timekeeping of Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
than the hard swinging of Haynes, and, like Motian, he is an accomplished and ambitious composer, which is shown on Origine (Dreyfus, 2010), an album that incorporates a wide range of sounds. "Pasolini," a homage to filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, is a silky piece of swing woven in a rich carpet of brass, whereas "Il Camino Part 1-3" are gentle folkloric vignettes, using flutes and Spanish guitar. Throughout the album, Romano shows himself as an exceptional composer of ballads. "Touch of a Woman," "Dreams and Waters" and "For Michel," remembering the late pianist Petrucciani, are all delicate in their complex romantic texture, reminiscent of the vintage songs of Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
. Origine is a truly significant work from one of the foremost drummers in European jazz.

Rosario Giuliani

Lennie's Pennies

Dreyfus Records

2010

Whereas Aldo Romano lets his Italian roots shine through in his romantic balladry, saxophonist Rosario Giuliani shows his origin in the wildness and passion of his playing. The famous Italian temperament is translated into a kind of blowing that is both heated and tender. Considering his highly emotional approach to playing, it is ironic that the title track, and the opener on his album Lennie's Pennies (Dreyfus, 2010), is written by the pianist Lennie Tristano
Lennie Tristano
Lennie Tristano
1919 - 1978
piano
, who famously shunned emotionalism in music. However, Giuliani tackles Tristano's contrapuntal intellectualism with grace, making it fresh and fiery.

Overall, Lennie's Pennies sports an eclectic program, with a nice mixture of standards, modern classics such as Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
1918 - 1996
piano
' "The Peacock" and Joe Zawinul
Joe Zawinul
Joe Zawinul
1932 - 2007
keyboard
's "74 Miles Aways" and originals by the leader and pianist Pierre de Bethmann, who contributes his lovely "Un Des Sans" and "Patience." The latter is a specially touching ballad, adorned by crystalline harmonies on Fender Rhodes. Giuliani shines strongly on his own swinging, mid-tempo ballad, "Dear Father," and also showcases a knack for Charlie Parker-like bop on the fast-paced "Over Lines." Lennie's Pennies certainly isn't cool jazz or third stream, but it is a nice selection of tunes from a very hot saxophonist.

Philip Catherine

Concert in Capbreton

Dreyfus Records

2010


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