Recorded at the Japanese Blue Note nightclub in November 1997, Trio In Tokyo documents the end of a brief and extraordinary life. Michel Petrucciani was born with a rare bone disease that severely inhibited his growth and took his life last year. But what he lacked in height, he more than made up for in expression. The pianist debuted at 17 with Clark Terry and Kenny Clarke in France. What Americans most remember about him was his presence in the emergent career of Charles Lloyd. Part Bill Evans, part Keith Jarrett, his enthusiastic piano earned him a loyal fan base. In his short 20 years in the spotlight, he recorded seven albums for Blue Note, the highlight being Power Of Three, a trio with Wayne Shorter and Jim Hall. The last years of his life were spent in France, recording for Dreyfus jazz.
This live date finds him with his longtime bandmates Steve Gadd and Anthony Jackson (I could have done without his electrified bass). The music is all Petrucciani’s except an excursion into Miles Davis’ “So What.” Petrucciani plays like a man beholden to only melody. His sound could probably sum up jazz at the end of the 20th century. It was an amalgamation of all things post-Bill Evans, a time when jazz had no impact on popular culture and turned inward for acceptance. Petrucciani played for an audience of devotees. He will be missed.
Track List:Training; September Second; Home; Little Peace In C For U; Love Letter; Cantabile; Colors; So What.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.