Jacky Terrasson: Push (2010)

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Jacky Terrasson: Push
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
Leon Parker
Leon Parker
b.1965
drums
), 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
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
and Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, more apt comparisons can be found in such pianist/leaders as Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
b.1930
piano
, Randy Weston
Randy Weston
Randy Weston
b.1926
piano
and Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim
b.1934
piano
. He has the pellucid touch and ringing gravity of tone—sharp and percussive—that are hallmarks of those pianists. And when he takes his band into funkier groove territory, as on the bouncy, folkish "Gaux Girl" or the R&B-flavored "Say Yeah," complete with his understated vocals and added guitar and percussion (Matthew Stevens and Cyro Baptista
Cyro Baptista
Cyro Baptista
b.1950
percussion
, respectively), there's evidence of a Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis
b.1935
piano
populism too.

But this album doesn't hew to a narrow aesthetic; Terrasson's distinctive approach embraces diversity while maintaining a personal sound. His mash-up of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and the standard "Body and Soul"—fragments of it assert themselves half way through and in the coda—employs tropes from Jamal's ensemble arsenal, including abrupt tempo shifts, whiplash dynamics and unexpected turnarounds. And the band, whether just the trio or augmented, maintains a spare, delineated sense of space-time with clean, neo-classical modernist lines. It's crisp and airy, never muddy or dense, even in the helter-skelter racing of "Beat Bop" with judiciously added electronic synth. Although originals dominate, the understated, wistful version of Monk's "Ruby My Dear," with Gregoire Maret
Gregoire Maret
Gregoire Maret
b.1975
harmonica
's haunting harmonica and Terrasson's piano tag-teaming the melody, deeply honors tradition, as do a respectful "'Round Midnight" and exuberant "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To."

Track Listing: Gaux Girl; Beat It/Body and Soul; Ruby My Dear; Beat Bop; 'Round Midnight; Morning; My Church; Say Yeah; You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To; Carry Me Away; O Café, O Soliel.

Personnel: Jacky Terrasson: piano, keyboards, vocals; Ben Williams: bass; Jamire Williams: drums; Gregoire Maret: harmonica (3, 8); Jacques Schwarz-Bart: tenor saxophone (6); Matthew Stevens: guitar (8); Cyro Baptista: percussion (8, 10, 11).

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Modern Jazz


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