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Taken with Terrasson

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While reading reviews about the 2010 Winter Jazzfest in New York City, I experienced a sensory overload, despite the fact that I hadn't even been in attendance. The list of musicians that performed at the event seemed too good to be true, as did many of the reviews, so I vowed to check it out for myself when the event rolled around again in January of 2011. When the festival dates were announced, I bought my tickets early, mapped out my club-hopping plan for each night, coordinated all of the logistics surrounding the weekend, and eagerly waited ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Push

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There's no lack of variety on pianist Jacky Terrasson's debut for Concord Records. With his trio and special guests, Terrasson generates a multihued program, featuring jazz-funk, spunky bop and cleverly envisioned ballads, such as Thelonious Monk's timeless classic, “Ruby My Dear." On this piece, Terrasson and harmonica ace Gregoire Maret share the lead via sweet-toned passages and a capacious backdrop that elicits imagery of a sultry breeze. The soloists caress and rephrase the familiar theme into a gradually ascending balladry, seasoned with subtly enacted choruses and animated voicings. During the bridge, Maret surges in linear fashion amid ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Push

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Since winning the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition 17 years ago, Jacky Terrasson has ranged far and wide from his original, striking early trio (with minimalist drummer/percussionist Leon Parker), exploring formats from solo and various duos to larger ensembles. For this, his first album for a new label, he returns with a new trio, featuring recent Monk Competition-winning bassist Ben Williams and drummer Jamire Williams, augmented by guests. While Terrasson has been likened to Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock, more apt comparisons can be found in such pianist/leaders as Ahmad Jamal, Randy Weston and Abdullah Ibrahim. He has the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Push

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There are three qualities about pianist Jacky Terrasson's music that make it irresistible and riveting. The first is that it dances interminably. Secondly, it is jagged and angular--an epithet often used to describe the music of Thelonious Monk and which suits Terrasson well as, even with his singularly distinctive voice, he is genealogically connected. Finally, Terrasson has a penchant for a playful, almost puckish, interpretation, where humor is implicit. As such he negotiates all melodies, even those that are contemplative, with sparkling and almost child-like candor. Above all, of course, Terrasson plays piano with devastatingly beautiful expression, sublime technique and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Mirror

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In a tenure with the vaunted Blue Note label that has produced ten full-length CDs in a variety of settings and production styles, Jacky Terrasson has never recorded a solo piano album. After a hiatus of sorts, the pianist/composer /bandleader has completed that project, though not without some self-admitted soul- searching, creative and otherwise. The wait, however, was worth it.

Mirror is a thing of beauty. Terrasson has proven himself a courageously proficient jazz musician on his previous recordings, but this new project is a step above what he's done before. Many solo piano albums tend ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Mirror

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Jacky Terrasson's claim that he hadn't recorded a solo-piano disc before because he “wasn't ready to take it on is mind boggling, since he has excelled at everything he's attempted: Berklee School of Music, the Monk Competition, his first pro gig as Betty Carter's pianist, and his collaborations with heavy hitters like Cassandra Wilson and Stefon Harris, to name just a few. But then, solo piano is way different than all that; the artist is out on the wire with no backup, and if there's a safety net, it's a long way down. On Mirror, Terrasson not only negotiates that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Mirror

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Pianist Jacky Terrasson has been on a recording hiatus since his 2003 set Smile (Blue Note), but he's back and swinging with this, his first solo outing, revealingly rich in tempos and colors. Terrasson has an ample supply of virile dynamics that can skillfully dip and slide into all sorts of places and moods. It happens here right off with the opener, the Ellington/Mills/Razaf classic, “Caravan. What begins as a turbulent desert windstorm segues into a swaying night journey with a touch of things that go bump in the night. It's an attention-getter for sure. It's no surprise that Terrasson, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Mirror

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If you had to write a headline for the career of Jacky Terrasson it might be “from brash to brilliant." The forty-something pianist took the jazz world by storm, winning the Thelonious Monk piano competition in 1993 only to make some impetuous records that wowed you with his talent. But they didn't register high with their significance.

But like his contemporary Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Terrasson has matured into a more expressive player whose music maintains its staying power. builds on the success of the 2003 disc Smile, a trio record that relied more on fecundity than technique.

On Mirror ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Mirror

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Solo piano is a risky business: if the pianist hasn't got the stuff, there's absolutely nothing to hide behind. It's not enough to noodle aimlessly, pretending that every note is profound, or to fill the air with thunderous pounding that's more noise than brilliance. There should be real substance: thoughtfulness in both the choice of material and the playing of it; chops, flair, and versatility; and above all, a clear sense of the artist's individual voice and soul.

After sixteen albums and two Grammy nominations, Jacky Terrasson has produced his first solo outing, and it's terrific. Mirror is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Emmanuel Pahud/Jacky Terrasson: Into the Blue

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Into the Blue is a blue ribbon event. Emmanuel Pahud is an award-winning classical flutist. Jacky Terrassson is an award-winning jazz pianist known for his playful inventiveness. Their duo CD, featuring jazz treatments of 14 classical melodies, was recorded in the south of France in late summer of 2001 but not released until June of 2003. On the surface, it recalls the popular '70s efforts of Claude Bolling and Jean-Pierre Rampal, but Terrasson & Co. are more adventurous. For example, they offer radical renderings of Vivaldi's “Four Seasons" and a reggae approach to Mozart. Piano students may recognize Debussy's “Jimbo's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Smile

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Each of the ten albums that Jacky Terrasson has issued since he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 1993 has grown logically out of its predecessor. Smile moves forward from À Paris to encompass an eclectic program where jazz standards are mixed with pop songs. It’s the kind of program one might find on a live album, where interaction with the audience prompts the artist to vary in topical substance. Remember the classic film scene where Nat King Cole is issued a surly request for “Sweet Lorraine?” Terrasson interacts with his audience in much the same manner, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson: Smile

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The stream of imaginative energy flows strong and true on Jacky Terrasson’s new recording, simply entitled Smile. The dazzling jazz pianist performs with panache and exuberance, adding his unique touch to a diverse mixture of contemporary and classic standards. The music remains true to Terrasson’s form, as it is somewhat of a return to the trio format of his early acclaimed recordings. His previous release A Paris paid homage to his childhood experiences in France and with more than a half dozen recordings on Blue Note; he continues to develop and grow into a unique pianist.

Smile could easily be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefon Harris & Jacky Terrasson: Kindred Spirits

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Collaboration means working together toward the same goal. Stefon Harris & Jacky Terrasson have a lot in common, and their collaboration seems quite natural. Vibraphone, piano, bass and drums leave a pleasant combination of timbres that is at once familiar and fresh. Responding to each other, the duo creates a fourhanded affair. Their partnership is particularly gracious on the two pieces in which bass and drums lay out. As if the two artists share one instrument, they create lyrical phrases simultaneously. Both employ dynamic shadings that raise and lower the volume as musical punctuation. Ballads and up-tempo romps drive the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacky Terrasson:

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With À Paris Jacky Terrasson comes up with another twist to follow his “What it Is" album from two years ago. That 1999 album on Blue Note, with Terrasson in an ensemble setting featuring Michael Brecker and Mino Cinelu, received mixed reviews amid suspicion that it was an overproduced record. This record however should hold up better- especially now that the initial shock of Jacky Terrasson having departed from his strongly-associated trio format is over.

À Paris is a concept record that is intended to be a heartfelt tribute by Mr.Terrasson to the city of his youth. And just in ...



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