385

Martial Solal: Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Martial Solal is a nuclear physicist of the piano. He tinkers with the subatomic structure of compositions, moving elements around, pulling them apart, and smashing them together in ways that both surprise and delight. Solal was born Algiers in 1927, settling in Paris in 1950 where he worked with Django Reinhardt and American expatriates Sidney Bechet and Don Byas. He has maintained an impressive creative profile for the past 50 years that involves solo, small group, and big band formats. Solal has also been a successful movie soundtrack composer, producing music for Les Acteurs (2000) and Ballade a blanc (1983).

Now in his 80s, his performances take on the aire of a grand event. As such, it is fitting that his October 12, 2007 solo appearance at New York City's Village Vanguard was captured and released as Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love. His previous live recording at the Vanguard, NY1: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 2003) was met with much adulation as was the show that generated it in the wake of September 11, 2001.

Relaxed and amiable, Solal banters with the crowd in his French-accented English, explaining that they both must be good as he is making a live recording. He then proceeds to stroll through a recital of seven standards are two original compositions in what can only be described as in a very post-modern, deconstructionist manner. His command of the material is paradoxically dense and atomized with playing that betrays a knowledge of all styles of jazz piano, which he picks and chooses to employ at his creative whim. That "whim" is very informed. "On Green Dolphin Street?" he turns the familiar melody inside out, re- harmonizing and redefining the piece well beyond its early 20th Century origins.

Solal transforms the interrogative "Lover Man" into a declarative statement of fact and strains the brains of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" through modernity's defining sieve, exposing all of the soft underparts Monk didn't. Solal extends the language of Monk further than any other pianist. His two original compositions, "Centre De Gravite" and "Ramage" are no less compelling, acting as an extension of Solal's artistic command. Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love is as perfect a jazz recording as we could hope for. Few giants remain, so let us honor Martial Solal.


Track Listing: Intro 1; On Green Dolphin Street; Lover Man; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Centre De Gravite; Ramage; 'Round Midnight; Have You Met Miss Jones; The Last Time I Saw Paris; Intro 2; Corcovado.

Personnel: Martial Solal: piano.

Title: Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: CAM Jazz


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Zea" CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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