Michel Petrucciani left his mark on straight-ahead jazz. This compilation from previous albums demonstrates clearly that the pianist was in command when he explored the realm, both as a gentle balladeer and as a swinging musician who worked hard at his craft and connected well with a great number of like-minded artists in the jazz community.
The albums represented on this compilation were recorded between 1992 and ’98. It was in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, January 6, 1999 that Petrucciani died in a New York hospital while being treated for a lung infection. A child prodigy who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or glass bone disease, he played on specially equipped pianos that had custom-built pedal extensions. He was usually carried to and from the piano bench because his bones were so fragile.
The pianist considered his small size and delicate condition as the early secret of his musical success. The limitations meant that he wasn’t out on the soccer field with the other boys. Instead, he was in the house studying: first classical music, and then jazz.
So What features Petrucciani in various formats with capable partners. His father, Tony, plays blues guitar, as he and Michel duet on Tony’s composition “Michel’s Blues.” Their natural empathy makes the piece shine brightly. With organist Eddy Louiss, the pianist swings heartily through several numbers. With violinist Stephane Grappelli, bassist George Mraz and drummer Roy Haynes, he swings through several classic tunes. As solo piano interpreter, he carves several pieces in his own sweet way. His romantic sense of harmony and his deep appreciation for keeping lyrical melody at the forefront become quite clear on the pianist’s offering of “Besame Mucho.” This highly recommended anthology of Petrucciani’s work honors his memory appropriately.
Track Listing: Summertime; Little Peace in C for U; Home; J
Personnel: Michel Petrucciani- piano; Eddie Louiss- organ; St
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.