Reference: FSRCD 982_2
Bar code: 8427328609821
A new pianist of startling talent burst onto the international jazz scene in late 1953. His name was Martial Solal, a young Frenchman born in Algiers (1927). He left his hometown for Paris at the age of 23 in search of a more favorable jazz climate, earning fame and experience along the way with a number of bands. In 1953 his playing caught the ear of legendary jazz producer Charles Delaunay, who offered to record him accompanied by Pierre Michelot and Pierre Lemarchand —the two leading voices in their respective instruments— for his Swing / Vogue label. These were Solal’s first trio recordings, and they immediately established him as someone to reckon with in the French jazz scene.
Bud Powell was Solal’s favorite pianist and one of his main influences, but Erroll Garner came a close second. Needless to say, as a bop enthusiast, he was fond of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis as well. His main objective was to play bop, but with his own brand of piano playing, looking for new harmonies because, as he says, “to me evolution is the first and most important thing.”
You will find in this collection all the qualities that make Martial Solal one of the best contemporary pianists: a soft touch full of contrasts —even in the more demanding pieces; his keen intelligence, which keeps him cool at all times; and the way he always swings forward through imagination and originality, which are the trademarks of his talent.
"One of the most creative pianists to come out of France was and still is Martial Solal, who’s found in his strongest setting, the trio, in this collection of studio and concert recordings on this two disc set. The studio trio sessions range from 1953-55 and are all set in Paris, with Solal in four completely different teams, which include Americans Joe Benjamin/b and Roy Hayne/dr from 1954 as well as Jean-Marie Ingrand or Pierre Michelot/b with Pierre Lemarchand or Jean-Louis Viale. Solal is spry and bouncy on “Dinah” and gives a bop take of “Just One Of Those Things” while his own “Midi ¼” is a cleverly arranged affair. Haynes and Benjamin snap Solal to attention on “The Way You Look Tonight” and are luscious for “Darn That Dream.”
From 1960, Solal teams up with GuyPedersen/b and Daniel Humair/dr for a handful of originals that feature a warm “Quin-Quin” a pretty “Bonsoir” and a sparkling “Middle Jazz.” With the same team he’s recorded in a concert in Paris, and except for the cleverly arranged take of Duke Jordan’s “Jordu” he keeps to his own songbook, and it’s impressive. The team bops on the crisp “No Smoking,” creates sharp angles on “Dermaplastic” and says to Pedersen’s bow on “Averty, ce’set Moi.” There’s plenty of room for soloing, but Solal frames them within original charts as deft and tasty as a green macaroon. The liner notes give plenty of info and perspective on this important artist."
George W. Harris (October 17, 2019)
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