What is it about France and the French? In the U.S., where jazz is part of our cultural heritage, attendance at live jazz events and jazz album sales are anemic by comparison. The future of jazz here would be considerably healthier if we were half as interested in jazz as are the French! Solo
is the first solo album to be released by Baptiste Trotignon, the latest in a series of French jazz pianists of enviable talent and imagination. Trotignon had previously recorded two trio albums, the most recent being Sightseeing
on the French Naive label, with drummer Tony Rabeson and bassist Clovis Nicolas. Born in the Paris area in 1974, Trotignon began playing the violin at age six. Playing the piano began at age nine and serious classical study at age 13 in Nantes, where he discovered jazz for the first time. By age 16 he was playing in small groups, and by 21 he was back in Paris, enrolled in jazz classes at the National Academy and immersed in the Paris jazz scene.
Subsequently Trotignon has been first prize winner at the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Contest and Best New Artist at the Victoires du Jazz in Cannes. The Canadian release of this CD in the summer of 2003 was timed to coincide with his Canadian premiere at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.
All eleven selections on the nearly 53 minutes of this CD are original compositions, and the album has continuity and integrity when taken as a whole. Trotignon plays confidently but with a light touch, the melody ringing and clear. He is also capable of considerable dynamism, and his runs are crisp and clean. Overall, the CD has a thoughtful and classical feel; Trotignon may be capable of swinging hard, but cerebral, impressionistic rubato phrases and repeated rhythmic patterns predominate here over visceral blues influences. This music makes elegant background listening, but closer attention and study are rewarded with an increased appreciation for this musician’s talent as a composer and skills as a performer.
Personnel: Baptiste Trotignon: piano.