556

Jean-Michel Pilc: Follow Me

By

Sign in to view read count
Given the Francophobia that has reared its ugly head in American politics over the last few years, it's a relief to see that Stateside jazz fans, at least, are still open to the contributions of European practitioners of the art form. So, for instance, Jean-Michel Pilc's latest CD, the somewhat generically named Follow Me , has been getting great reviews here in the States. And why shouldn't it? A former scientist, Pilc plays with a precision that in places is reminiscent of Bill Evans or Oscar Peterson. More importantly (and also like Evans and Peterson) he avoids sounding dry or academic despite the fact that he rarely misses a note.

What may be most admirable about Pilc's artistry, though, is that he seems to understand that there can be a productive relationship between the forces that have threatened to destroy jazz since the eighties—the alternate realities of "out" and "in" (or, put another way, of the avant-garde and the mainstream). Though it may be tempting to hear Pilc as leaning more toward the musical inside (a sense perhaps reinforced by the standards he selects on this record, and by the pretty title track, a Pilc original), he's not afraid to complicate the more "lyrical" aspects of his sound with a subtle but insistent pianistic subversiveness. Listen, for example, to the sudden clusters that pepper his rendition of "My Favorite Things." Or the Monk-like anti-ending of "Autumn Leaves." Or the atonal countermelody woven into the beginning of "Ain't Misbehavin'." Pilc is equally Janus-faced as a composer: for instance, the aforementioned "Follow Me" is nicely balanced with a more angular original, cryptically entitled "The Racoon."

In the end, there's a vague restlessness to this recording, as if Pilc is torn between competing impulses to put a given tune together and then take it apart again. No complaint, that; it's another way of saying that Pilc leans toward a comprehensive pianism, ably expressing—on a single instrument, no less—so much of what has made jazz fascinating, problematic, or inspiring over the last hundred years.


Track Listing: 1 Follow Me 3:34 2 Les Amants d'Un Jour 3:28 3 St. Louis Blues 3:18 4 My Favorite Things 4:32 5 If I Should Lose You 3:24 6 St James Infirmary 3:44 7 Happiness Seven 2:08 8 One for My Baby 4:26 9 The Racoon 3:32 10 Autumn Leaves 3:12 11 Ain't Misbehavin' 3:22 12 Beaver Dam 3:55 13 Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir 2:55 14 B Minor Waltz 3:35 15 Oleo 1:32 16 Les Copains d'Abord 4:02

Personnel: Jean-Michel Pilc: Piano and whistling

Title: Follow Me | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Sunset" CD/LP/Track Review Sunset
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Algorithmic Society" CD/LP/Track Review Algorithmic Society
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.