VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
03 MAY 10 JONATHAN WIDRAN
After a lengthy stretch at Blue Note that included 10 albums from 1993 through 2007, the truly international pianist (born in Berlin to a French mother and American father) Jacky Terrasson joins Concord Jazz for another one word titled album, Push, that speaks to his ongoing, unpredictable and free-spirited sense of adventure.
The eclectic, mostly trio-based set of seven originals and covers both mainstream ("You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," "Round Midnight") and quirky (an impressionistic medley of "Body And Soul" and "Beat It") could be seen as a torch passing of sorts. After his years at Berklee School of Music and cutting his teeth touring with Betty Carter, Terrasson came to prominence in 1993 by winning the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition. His core trio features Jamire Williams on drums and recent Monk Competition winner Ben Williams (no relation) on bass.
While Terrasson has always cited Monk, Bud Powell and Bill Evans as influences, he began listening to his mother's Miles Davis LPs when he was 11 and has shown a Milesesque penchant for innovation in his own work. Push has an international flavor about it via tracks that touch on South African (the joyfully whimsical, hand clap-enhanced "O Café, O Soleil") and Afro-Cuban flavors, but he's also grounded in wild be-bop, as evidenced by the hip and challenging runs of "Beat Bop." These frenetic leanings are balanced perfectly by easy swinging gems like "Morning" (featuring tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart), whimsical poppy romps ("Say Yeah") and sparse elegant piano expressions along the lines of "My Church."
Jacky Terrasson, from Push