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Steve Grossman Quartet With Michel Petrucciani

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Album Review

In this final recording with pianist Michel Petrucciani, saxophonist Grossman's usually more extroverted tendencies are willingly sublimated in order to play more romantically inclined mainstream jazz. Many of the tunes are ballads, embellished by Petrucciani's languid or forceful pianistics, while solid bassist Andy McKee and drummer Joe Farnsworth keep the flickering flame alive with their steadying rhythms.

Of course the fire has to be stoked on occasion, and Grossman really digs in on the Sonny Rollins evergreen "Why Dont I?" It's perfectly played, a flawless uptempo swinger with head nodding, bluesy elements. Contrasting easy swing with double timed tenor on "Don't Blame Me" shows Grossman as riled up as he gets on this date. There's a samba take of "You Go To My Head" with Petrucciani's solo sporting 16th note flurries, and a moody, pensive waltz version of McKee's "Inner Circle" similar to "You Go To My Head." Two tunes go from ballad to swing and back, Grossman's "Song For My Mother" with the pianist quite animated in the bridge, and Petrucciani's "Parisian Welcome" brought in exclusively for this session, with Grossman the torch burner. The others are straight ballads including classic takes of "Body & Soul" and "Theme For Ernie," the lugubrious interpretation with a highly restrained Petrucciani on "Ebb Tide," and the sax-piano only rendition of "In A Sentimental Mood" as the CD's closer. Fans of Grossman should not wince at this apparent taming of the shrew. In fact, Grossman's pungent tone, never smeary or over pronounced, retains its rich, expressive listenability and tunefulness. It's a beautifully understated recording that is easily recommended, especially for those just discovering veteran Grossman. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


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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Steve Grossman Quartet With Michel Petrucciani, Michel Petrucciani
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