Attention DJ Diapers and baby-mixmasters, the original artists to utilize sampling in music were jazz musicians. Saxophonist Charlie Parker could quote any line from popular music within the context of any solo he was inventing. Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc picks up this tradition, and plays music with an intensely modern and hip technique.
Welcome Home is his first release for Dreyfus Jazz, but this Paris born musician recorded three discs for the Dutch Challenge records worth seeking out. Pilc's music reminds one of the early records by Jacky Terrasson with their immense chops and rhythmic acrobatics. Pilc, like Terrasson, loves to stop-start and change time signatures often. His trio of bassist Francois Moutin and Philadelphia drummer Ari Hoening (Kenny Werner and Jazz Mandolin Project) are sympathetic accompanists with a telepathic response to Pilc's every move. And this trio makes moves. They toss classical music into Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning," and replace Miles Davis' "So What" coolness with the fast and furious pace of a liquor store heist. Like a live remix project, Pilc reorganizes the familiar into his vision. He updates Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" with all it's bitter-sweetness by adding the elements of a slasher film soundtrack.
All of this would not work, but for Pilc's mastery of the keyboard and arrangement. A favorite here are his short takes on the music of John Coltrane. At barely two minutes each, "Cousin Mary" and "Giants Steps" get rebuilt into deconstructed yet highly coherent homage. He begins "Giant Steps" with the baseline from "Mission Impossible" and segues into the "Pink Panther Theme" before settling into the Coltrane anthem. I dare any DJ to attempt the same with all the modern technology available. His original music is heard here too. He reaches for the funk on "Serial Mother Blues," "Autumn In Newfane" is a delicate ballad, and a commissioned new piano trio sonata ends the recording. Expect great things from this new restless voice in jazz.
Track Listing: So What; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Stella By Starlight; Autumn In Newfane; Colchiques Dans Les Pres; Solitude; Cousin Mary; Giant Steps; Tenderly; Welcome Home; Serial Mother Blues; Scarborough Fair; Rhythm-A-Ning; Beginning.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.