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Philippe LeJeune: Blues Inspiration

C. Michael Bailey By

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Philippe LeJeune is positioning himself to accept the blues piano mantle from the Late Gene Harris. Both pianists have much in common. Both are two-fisted players with potent left hands and nuclear fast right hands. Both season their respective repertoires with shirt-tail blues pieces that do not fit exactly into the traditional 12-bar format.

But mostly, these pianists are not afraid to get down and dirty. LeJeune, a French native, gets in the gutbucket with the best of them. Classically trained, LeJeune had his road to Damascus experience in 1968 when he heard the great Memphis Slim in concert. From then on, LeJeune was off and running, playing a rollicking version of Meade Lux Lewis and Roosevelt Sykes in a jazz piano format.

Mr. LeJeune’s left hand pushes him through W.C. Handy’s "Atlanta Blues" right into a driving version of Ellington’s "Satin Doll," featuring a prize bass solo from Herman Hampton. Aside from his informed original compositions, LeJeune addresses Ray Bryant’s "Stick With It," Horace Silver’s "Song for My Father," and Ray Charles’ "Rockhouse." All are performed with style and a lowdown grace befitting a barroom conversion. This recordings is good enough to compel the uninitiated to seek out more recordings by this master.

Track Listing: Atlanta Blues; Satin Doll; After Hours; Waltz The Blues; Hip Boogie-Woogie; Stick With It; Song For My Father; Girl Talk; Rockhouse; Cantabile; Cow Cow Blues; Ahmad

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Black and Blue Records


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