Solo piano is a risky business: if the pianist hasn't got the stuff, there's absolutely nothing to hide behind. It's not enough to noodle aimlessly, pretending that every note is profound, or to fill the air with thunderous pounding that's more noise than brilliance. There should be real substance: thoughtfulness in both the choice of material and the playing of it; chops, flair, and versatility; and above all, a clear sense of the artist's individual voice and soul.
After sixteen albums and two Grammy nominations, Jacky Terrasson has produced his first solo outing, and it's terrific. Mirror is also the perfect title for this clear, undiluted reflection of his unique gifts. It's all there: his exuberance, formidable technique, signature harmonies and stylistic turns, and that whimsical humor that makes his music so distinctive. And for some happy reason, the sound of this Steinway is particularly luscious, which helps intensify the experience.
This journey begins with a brilliant and purely Terrassonian "Caravan, which is full of unexpected landscapes. It continues through an assortment of classics, including an unusually pensive "You've Got a Friend, a mischievous and Monkish "Just a Gigolo, and a contemplative "America the Beautiful that expresses the mix of respect and sadness that many of us are feeling these days. A wild "Cherokee is nearly played inside-out, while the next tune, "Everything Happens to Me is offered straight up and serene. There are also five varied, intriguing originals, and as always, Terrasson does what we expect of him: the unexpected.
Mirror is a perfect introduction to Terrasson's exceptional talents for those who are new to his music. For his fans, it's a long-overdue and absolute must-have CD.