Martial Solal (p, arr, dir), Roger Guérin, Bernard Hulin, Fernand Verstraete, Fred Gerard, Robert Fassin, Christian Bellest, Jean Garrec, Maurice Thomas, Luis Fuentes (tp), Billy Byers, André Paquinet, Benny Vasseur, Charles Verstraete, Nat Peck, Bill Tamper (tb), André Fournier (Frh), Hubert Rostaing (cl, as), André 'Teddy' Hameline, Jean Aldegon, Georges Grenu, Jo Hrasko (as), Georges Grenu, Armand Migiani, Lucky Thompson, Barney Wilen, Jacques Ferrier (ts), William Boucaya, Michel Cassez (bs), Pierre Cullaz (g), Benoît Quersin, Pierre Michelot (b), Christian Garros, Kenny Clarke, Daniel Humair (d)
Reference: FSRCD 980
Bar code: 8427328609807
From his beginnings, Martial Solal made it clear that he was not like other pianists, and maybe that’s why it took him a few years to get the unreserved recognition of the jazz world. His talent and excellent technique along with his advanced harmonic conception were his credentials as an innovative pianist. It was these same qualities that he took to the world of orchestral writing, where he showed that his gifts as an arranger go hand in hand with his talent as a pianist.
Listening to these recordings, the intimate character of his compositions and his mastery as an instrumentalist shine through on every note, and make obvious that Martial Solal had fun extrapolating his ideas and musical concepts from the piano to a large orchestra.
"Still alive and well at 91, pianist Martial Solal is still one of the most harmonically sophisticated pianists to come out of the hard bop era. Usually associated in a trio setting, this album from Fresh Sound Records has him in a series of large band settings, mixing and matching American Ex-Pats like Kenny Clarke/dr, Billy Byers/tb and Lucky Thompson/ts with local all stars Roger Guerin/tp, Pierre Michelot/b, Barney Wilen/ts and Piere Gossez/bs.
The Parisian sessions feature material that is fairly concise, usually clocking in under two minutes, with bold brass and rich reeds setting a framework for Solal’s solos on matrial such as “Horloge Parlant” and the hip “Blouse Bleue.” The charts get tricky on “Fatasque” and Guerin gets some solo space on “Alhambra.” Things get quite creative when Solal puts together a brass heavy team with a rhythm team of himself with Clarke and Michelot on bright and swift pieces like “Studio Fagon” and “Yes Or No” that comes across like a French version of Stan Kenton, while a big band filled with reeds ranging down to bass sax gets bold and swinging on “ Basie-Likes” and the muted trumpets team wih harpsichord on the clever “Mystere Solal.” Clever flavors in this souffle of a dish."
George W. Harris (June 27, 2019)
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