219

Martial Solal: NY 1: Live at The Village Vanguard

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Martial Solal: NY 1: Live at The Village Vanguard Opening night for pianist Martial Solal's rare appearance in New York City was scheduled at the Village Vanguard for September 18, 2001. The show went on, but because the city wasn't too much in the mood for enjoyment, and Solal had had trouble making the flight. That first night he performed standards to a sparse but emotionally hungry audience, as if the familiarity of those selections would serve the moment, musically and psychologically. The beauty and perfection of Solal's playing was what the audience craved.

NY-1 is culled from subsequent performances later in the week, and as the audiences grew larger, Solal's trio with bassis Francois Moutin and drummer Bill Stewart became less tentative and more experimental than they were on that first wary night. Alternating between standards and original compositions on the CD, the title track kicks things off with skittering drums and briskly plucked bass while Solal stops-and-starts in a torrent of notes. He rejects convention by going as far outside the meter as he can without leaving his rhythm section behind, while never completely abandoning melody.

Cole Porter's three-minute original "What is This Thing Called Love" is a vague memory as the trio swings it for 14 bars with Moutin taking a long bass solo, his sound suggesting the plinking of a cello. The slow-drag beat of "Body and Soul" is more immediately recognizable, with Solal accelerating and braking to fill the spaces, as is "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," which concludes with a precise, dramatic piano flourish.

"Suspect Rhythm" is the centerpiece original, offering an intensity that's a level higher than the other tracks. The musicians are clearly listening to and pushing each other, and Solal seems to hit the keys just a little bit harder. They pause for a lovely passage of arco bass and Solal-ian elegance, then shift yet again to a bluesy beat.

A part of me wishes NY-1 was a document of opening night, when so much was at stake, but I know that would be a disservice to Martial Solal. He and his trio create music that soothes the soul, under any circumstance.


Track Listing: NY-1; What Is This Thing Called Love; Suspect Rhythm; Body and Soul; Zig Zag; Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise; Lombardy.

Personnel: Martial Solal: piano; Bill Stewart: drums; Francois Moutin: bass.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Josh At Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Josh At Midnight
by James Nadal
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!