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
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.