Each of the ten albums that Jacky Terrasson has issued since he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 1993 has grown logically out of its predecessor. Smile moves forward from À Paris to encompass an eclectic program where jazz standards are mixed with pop songs. It’s the kind of program one might find on a live album, where interaction with the audience prompts the artist to vary in topical substance. Remember the classic film scene where Nat King Cole is issued a surly request for “Sweet Lorraine?” Terrasson interacts with his audience in much the same manner, and it has an effect on his song selection.
What a beautiful anthem “Mo Better Blues” has turned out to be! The pianist and his partners are equally at home with a lovely ballad as with the charged-up energy that carries from a standard bebop romp. But there’s nothing standard about the way Terrasson interprets a song. His “Smile” is in 5/4. “59” starts out in 5 and transitions to 9. He’s determined to see jazz grow. With ten years of improvising before an audience under his belt, the 37-year-old French-American artist continues to bring his own special something to the mainstream. Through and with Terrasson’s capable leadership, jazz will continue to grow freely in the New Year.
Track Listing: 1. Parisian Thoroughfare 2. Mo Better Blues 3. Smile
4. Sous le Ciel de Paris 5. Isn't She Lovely? 6. The Dolphin
7. Nardis 8. Autumn Leaves 9. My Funny Valentine 10. 59
Personnel: Jacky Terrasson - piano; Sean Smith - acoustic bass;
Eric Harland - drums; Remi Vignolo - electric bass (tracks 2, 4, 5)