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Days of Wine and Roses - The Owl Years (1981-1985)

Michel Petrucciani

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Album Review

This two-CD set contains 15 tracks selected by producer Jean-Jacques Pussiau from the six albums Petrucciani recorded for Owl Records from 1981-1985. The first CD includes six Petrucciani originals and two by drummer Aldo Romano; the second is all standards. Petrucciani's playing is not as strongly individual as it eventually became, but then he was only 18 in 1981. If there's an excess of self-indulgent noodling, particularly on the Jarrett-ish "My Funny Valentine" and "Prelude to a Kiss," there are also intimations of his later voice, with all its power, clarity, and chromatic romanticism. Petrucciani doubles himself on some of the solo tracks on the first CD, though this is not noted in the liners (which are a bit confusing). Two highlights on the first CD are "Mike Pee," a meditation that wanders — but beautifully — and is full of Petrucciani's signature clean, flowing runs and lyrical harmonies, and "Cold Blues," where the fast-walking basslines of Ron McClure provide an inspiring scaffolding for a joyful tour de force. That same piano/bass format swings "There Will Never Be Another You" on the second disc, where Petrucciani's thoughtful, Tatum-esque solo version of "'Round Midnight" is nothing less than astonishing for a teenager to pull off. For his fans, these discs are historically important as early evidence of his remarkable promise; for others, they offer more energy and imagination than many pianists are displaying today.


Born: 28 December 1962 in Orange, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Michel Petrucciani overcame the effects of osteogenensis imperfecta (a bone disease that greatly stunted his growth) to become a powerful pianist. Originally greatly influenced by Bill Evans and to a lesser extent Keith Jarrett, Petrucciani developed his own individual voice. He started by playing in the family band with his guitarist father and bassist brother. At the age of 15 he had the opportunity to play with Kenny Clarke and Clark Terry, and at 17 he made his first recording. Petrucciani toured...
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Days of Wine and Roses - The Owl Years (1981-1985), Michel Petrucciani
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