Pianist Jacky Terrasson has been on a recording hiatus since his 2003 set Smile (Blue Note), but he's back and swinging with this, his first solo outing, revealingly rich in tempos and colors. Terrasson has an ample supply of virile dynamics that can skillfully dip and slide into all sorts of places and moods. It happens here right off with the opener, the Ellington/Mills/Razaf classic, "Caravan. What begins as a turbulent desert windstorm segues into a swaying night journey with a touch of things that go bump in the night. It's an attention-getter for sure. It's no surprise that Terrasson, who likes to take liberties with harmony and rhythm, cites Lennie Tristano among chance-takers he admires.
The set is a mix of standards such as a dissonant "Just A Gigolo unlike any other version, plus five tunes of Terrasson's own. Among the latter "Tragic Mulatto Blues is as eloquent a statement as a lyric-less piece can be, with a call-and-response that makes for riveting listening. Terrasson's classical training is evident here and one can't help hoping this will serve as the basis for a larger work in the future. Clearly he has things to say and the skill with which to express them with his own music, as well as when he depth-charges "Everything Happens to Me. Exuberant, playful, emotional and more, it's good to have him back.
Track Listing: Caravan; Juvenile; Just A Gigolo; You've Got A Friend; Little Red Ribbon; Tragic Mulatto Blues; America the Beautiful; Cherokee; Everything Happens to Me; Mirror; Go Round.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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