All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

447

Taken with Terrasson

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
While reading reviews about the 2010 Winter Jazzfest in New York City, I experienced a sensory overload, despite the fact that I hadn't even been in attendance. The list of musicians that performed at the event seemed too good to be true, as did many of the reviews, so I vowed to check it out for myself when the event rolled around again in January of 2011.

When the festival dates were announced, I bought my tickets early, mapped out my club-hopping plan for each night, coordinated all of the logistics surrounding the weekend, and eagerly waited for January 7, 2011 to arrive. Unfortunately, all did not go as planned. By the time that day arrived, I was suffering from a cold and the worst cough I'd had since I was a child, and an ill-timed snow storm—seemingly localized over my exact travel route from Eastern Long Island into New York City—arrived at the same time as rush hour, making travel by car a very poor idea. Therefore, instead of soaking in the sounds of Anat Cohen's group, absorbing JD Allen's performance under the baton of Butch Morris, and reveling in the musical wonders brought forth by Aaron Goldberg's trio, I was asleep on my couch by 8:30.

When I awoke the next morning, I wasn't feeling much better, but sleep and cough medicine helped. I knew I'd be able to make it to some of the earlier performances in the evening, so my wife and I made our way to Manhattan, picked up our tickets and hurried over to Zinc Bar to catch pianist Jacky Terrasson with his trio.

Terrasson and his trio mates—bassist Ben Williams and drummer Jamire Williams—covered more ground during their all-too-short, forty-minute set than many of his contemporaries could cover in four hours, and those in attendance witnessed something truly special. Terrasson literally tugged away at the piano strings, blended Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and an abstracted take on "Body And Soul" with the more melodious strain of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and touched on churchy, gospel-infused melodies with the help of Williams' bass. While that would have been enough to satiate my appetite, Terrasson also delivered his signature arrangement of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," which proved to be the high point of the set.

Hearing this piece couldn't help but take me back to my first encounter with Terrasson's music. While the pianist gained instant jazz celebrity status for his win at the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 1993—and for his role as the pianist in Betty Carter's group—I was only 16 at the time, and I didn't encounter his revelatory music until I heard Smile (Blue Note, 2003), a full decade later. Since that initial encounter, I've had the opportunity to look back and explore his early recordings, with bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Leon Parker; soak in the sounds of his collaborative projects with the likes of vocalist Cassandra Wilson and vibraphonist Stefon Harris; delight in his solo work on Mirror (Blue Note, 2007); and absorb the wonders of his latest group on Push (Blue Note, 2010). As I heard each one of Terrasson's albums, my appreciation for his artistry only deepened, but I still hold a special place for Smile, and my fond memories of discovering this album came flooding back at the Zinc bar on that cold Saturday evening. With all of this in mind, I dedicate this month's Old, New Borrowed and Blue to the music of Jacky Terrasson.

Old

While Terrasson calls New York his home these days, Paris will always seem to hold a special place in his heart. Terrasson dedicated an entire album—the underappreciated A Paris... (Blue Note, 2000)—to the "City of Lights," but his first nod to La Ville-Lumière came with the first notes of his debut album.

Jacky Terrasson (Blue Note, 1995) announced the pianist's arrival as a first-rate recording artist, and he ushered in the proceedings with Cole Porter's "I Love Paris." Drummer Leon Parker was heard first, with his steady groove, and Terrasson makes his arrival known with one dissonant chord. He goes on to mix exploratory lines with melodious strains, but things take an immediate turn to the romantic when Parker briefly drops out. Complete consonance wins out and, when the drummer returns, Terrasson launches into a solo that mixes earthy lines with exotic statements and stabbing chords, before immediately shifting again.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Push

Push

Concord Music Group
2010

buy
Mirror

Mirror

Blue Note Records
2007

buy
 

Smile

Blue Note Records
2003

buy
 

Smile

Concord Jazz
2002

buy
 

A Paris...

Concord Jazz
2000

buy
 

What It Is

Concord Jazz
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Cents Of It All: Jazz Enters The Money Jungle Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Making Cents Of It All: Jazz Enters The Money Jungle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2011
Read Jazz Takes To The High Seas Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Jazz Takes To The High Seas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 7, 2011
Read Taken with Terrasson Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Taken with Terrasson
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 2, 2011
Read John Williams' Jazz Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
John Williams' Jazz
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 3, 2011
Read Soul And The Abstract Proof: Searching For Soul And Its Meaning In Jazz Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Soul And The Abstract Proof: Searching For Soul And Its...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 29, 2010
Read Jazz Is For The Birds: An Aviary In Song Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Jazz Is For The Birds: An Aviary In Song
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 27, 2010
Read "Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard" Catching Up With Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Culture Clubs: Part IV: When Jazz Met Europe" Under the Radar Culture Clubs: Part IV: When Jazz Met Europe
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Terri Hinte: Co-Creating the Image of Jazz" Interviews Terri Hinte: Co-Creating the Image of Jazz
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Chris Oatts Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Cafe" Live Reviews Chris Oatts Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Evan Parker" Building a Jazz Library Evan Parker
by John Eyles
Published: September 11, 2017