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Trio In Tokyo (Bonus Track Version)

Michel Petrucciani

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Album Review

Pianist Petrucciani was somewhat of a chameleon, inclined to go from mainstream jazz to more contemporary beats, which makes the rhythm team of electric bass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd a good combination. They push and pull the pianist, flexing their fusion-oriented muscles while providing a swinging backdrop that Petrucciani can relate to, allowing him to exhibit his unbridled lyricism. This is a live club date done at the Blue Note in Tokyo, and the crowd response is indicative of the kineticism flowing on the bandstand from these three outstanding musicians. The trio swings hard on "Training," one of seven Petrucciani originals. It's a basic melody rivaling the best of Tommy Flanagan's work. Gadd's swing/funk informs "September Second," which sets the pianist on a melodic tear of modally repeated choruses as a basis for his startling improvisations. The lilting ballad "Home," with its slight samba inferences, goes into a disco shuffle and "Just the Way You Are" tonalities. Then the trio cuts loose for Petrucciani's flying bop number "Little Peace In C For U," a showstopper no matter your preference. Gadd's seldom-heard brush work on the ballad-to-easy-swing of "Love Letter" has the band gelling nicely, while "Cantabile" incorporates light funk underneath Petrucciani's paraphrasings of snippets from "Blues Skies" and "Without a Song." A more rambling melodicism that can go anywhere — and does — accents the modal, pedal-point base of the funky lite blue "Colors" with quotes straight from "But Beautiful" and "But Not for Me." As an encore closer, the trio begins politely on the Miles Davis evergreen "So What!," but grows energetic and animated halfway through. There is an emphasis on interplay, especially from Gadd on the latter bridgework. This is another posthumous reminder of how wonderful Petrucciani could be in a spontaneous concert setting, playing his own music with most capable musicians. Recommended. [Dreyfus released an expanded edition in 2009.] ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: December 28, 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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Trio In Tokyo (Bonus Track Version), Michel Petrucciani
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