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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, ...



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