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Jacky Terrasson: What It Is

Jim Santella By

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What it is, is hot jazz. With guest Mino Cinelu lending a dynamic pulse, pianist Jacky Terrasson has created a session that (1) reminds us why he won the 1993 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition, and (2) offers proof that his internship with Betty Carter helped him develop and sharpen these creative skills. Terrasson’s powerful piano artistry makes this an exciting album. The fact that seven are his compositions underscores the originality of the pianist’s music. Audio samples from the album are available at http://www.bluenote.com . Equally important to the jazz enthusiast are schedules indicating where Terrasson can be heard in person; those are also available on the ‘net at http://home.earthlink.net/~terrasson/ .

With Mino Cinelu on congas and Ugonna Okegwo running the acoustic bass, Terrasson tears up the house on "What’s Wrong With You!" It’s high-powered energy that will grab you and hold on. The liner notes call it hyperactive. Blue Note’s web site offers a representative sample of this one. Similarly, the contrast that Terrasson presents with ballads such as "Little Red Ribbon" allows one to appreciate the artist’s lyrical approach. Michael Brecker’s two guest appearances and one vocal track ("Better World" in Spanish from female vocalist Xiomara Laugart) add variety to the session. The album ends with a creative arrangement of Ravel’s "Bolero." Rick Centalonza provides the familiar flute and oboe melodies while Terrasson and Cinelu stretch out. Acoustic and electric piano choruses provide contrasting segments, while Cinelu’s exotic drum collection adds a wide variety of percussive energy. Terrasson’s What It Is is quite creative, right out of jazz’s mainstream, and a real winner. Highly Recommended.

Title: What It Is | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Concord Jazz

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