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Album Review

Two separate CDs featuring pianist Michel Petrucciani are heard in their entirety on this double-disc compilation issued in 2006. Flamingo was officially violinist Stéphane Grappelli's date as a leader, with Petrucciani, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Roy Haynes making up an outstanding rhythm section. Most of the session is devoted to standards long a part of Grappelli's repertoire, though the violinist is clearly stimulated by Petrucciani and company. The pianist's lush introduction to "Flamingo" sets up a marvelous duet, while the old warhorse "I Got Rhythm" swings like mad. The octogenarian dives headfirst into the pianist's upbeat "Little Peace in C for U," while Grappelli contributed the miniature ballad "Valse du Passé," which closes his only recorded meeting with Petrucciani. The last ten tracks are from a session led by the pianist with bassist Dave Holland, drummer Tony Williams, and the Graffiti String Quartet. Each one of Petrucciani's eight originals is striking. "Manhattan" is a whirlwind post-bop affair, suggesting the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, while "Charlie Brown" is a lighthearted number, a simple repeated riff that is developed into an upbeat, funky miniature. He revisits his delightful waltz "Even Mice Dance," with the strings adding a nice touch, while "You Are My Waltz" is a challenging number with a constantly shifting theme. Philippe Petrucciani (the leader's father) contributed the driving "Why," where Michel demonstrates his formidable technique at the keyboard. The mournful ballad "Besame Mucho" was long one of Petrucciani's favorite songs; in this moving rendition he stays true to the mood of the song, playing it in a deliberate manner.


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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Flamingo, Michel Petrucciani
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