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Jacky Terrasson:

Jim Santella By

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Every nation has its country music. Paris brings to mind cabaret, modal folk melodies, lively dances, classical tradition and hot jazz. Jacky Terrasson looks at Paris from each angle. With acoustic guitarist Bireli Lagrene, the title track simmers in the hot, summertime climate Terrasson knows so well. Guitarist and pianist team up again on "I Wish You Love," with Fender Rhodes taking the familiar melody. After all, Paris does have a reputation for romance. Cole Porter's "I Love Paris" gets a facelift when Terrasson alternates piano with Rhodes to create unexpected changes in direction. "La Vie en Rose," as well, takes a turn for the unique. Piano and percussion give the ballad a hard-charging samba drive. Terrasson's powerful bass notes serve to intensify the street band marching atmosphere. Fender Rhodes enters the picture briefly and converses with piano. While not a classic rendition of this pearly gem, the leader reminds us that he's willing to take big risks in order to explore. As a whole, the album settles on the many facets of French popular song while eschewing an allegiance to improvised music. The take of "I Love Paris" that Terrasson used on his 1994 eponymous debut album by far exceeds what he's done here. Most of the 14 tracks limit the length of the music; thus, extensive improvisation takes a back seat. Several tunes are allotted a mere minute or two. It's not enough to adequately honor the great French popular songbook. Terrasson has shown that he's willing to take risks, but not all risks turn out well.
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