Martial Solal has always been a remarkable pinaist, both in his work with Lee Konitz and others and in his own right. This recording is no different: it contains Solal playing, with a trio, a program of (mostly) standards, but with anything but a standard sensibility. He continually finds new ways to breathe life into them. Whether he does it melodically, harmonically, rhythmically, or all three, he is always breathtakingly successful, and makes what might have been a ho-hum program in the hands of a lesser player into a fascinating journey.
The ten-millionth cover of "'Round Midnight" (here called, in Milesian fashion, "'Round About Midnight") shows Solal's method in microcosm. It takes Solal awhile to get around to the melody - or does it? Suddenly he's been there all along, approaching it sidelong, dipping in and out of it, finding "Misterioso" in it. Exploring, in short, utterly new avenues. Quite a feat for such an overplayed song.
Of course, some credit for the wonder of this disc must go to his trio mates, particularly the extraordinary drummer Paul Motian. Motian has impeccable taste, and knows just when to whisper and when to shout: not an inconsiderable feat when playing with the often unpredictable Solal.
Anyone who loves piano trio music shouldn't miss the wild and marvelous playing of Martial Solal.
Track listing: Night and Day / Gang of Five / Softly as in a Morning Sunrise / 'Round About Midnight / Almost Like Being in Love / Balade du 10 Mars / The Lady is a Tramp / My Old Flame / The Newest Old Waltz.
Personell: Solal, p; Marc Johnson, b; Paul Motian, d.