The phenomenon that was pianist Michel Petrucciani (b. December 28th, 1962, d. January 6th, 1999) is brought to life by this double-feature DVD from Dreyfus Records. Containing the hour-long documentary (Non-Stop Travels With Michel Petrucciani) that aired on many PBS television stations and a concert performance (Michel Petrucciani Trio: Live In Concert) in Germany, this wonderful DVD brings clarity to the person and musician that was Petrucciani. The single strongest emotion that keeps pouring forth as Petrucciani speaks and plays is his enormous talent and forever optimistic and humorous demeanor trapped in a body with a degenerative bone disease that would fail him before he turned forty.
Organist Eddy Louiss and pianist Michel Petrucciani perform a set of boppish duets on this intriguing and successful effort. Louiss and Petrucciani (who brought in "I Wrote You a Song" and "Simply Bop") contributed two songs apiece and co-wrote "Jean-Philippe Herbien." In addition, they perform "All the Things You Are," "So What," and "These Foolish Things." The blend between Louiss' organ and Petrucciani's piano is quite attractive, and they work together quite well, leaving enough space for their individual personalities to emerge yet forming a highly appealing ensemble sound.
This 1982 meeting between the veteran alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and the young pianist (19 at the time of the session) Michel Petrucciani is a success on all counts. Konitz's fragile alto is complemented by Petrucciani's lush backing in "I Hear a Rhapsody," while their abstract approach to "'Round Midnight" and "Lover Man" are both very refreshing. Konitz is unaccompanied for his wandering "Ode," while the pianist is featured alone on his complex portrait "To Erlinda," which is dedicated to his first wife. Petrucciani and Konitz wrote the brief closer, the lively blues "Lovelee," during which they initially play apart from one another before joining forces to close with a flourish. This was only Petrucciani's third recording, yet he plays far beyond his years; this recommended CD will be difficult to find due to the demise of the Owl label.
Michel Petrucciani's second recording (following the obscure Flash, put out by the French Bingow label the previous year) finds the pianist at age 18 already a powerful force. Assisted by bassist J.F. Jenny Clark and drummer Aldo Romano, Petrucciani is more heavily influenced here by Bill Evans than he would be later. The trio performs two originals apiece by the pianist and drummer Romano, plus "Days of Wine and Roses" and a romp on "Cherokee." This CD shows that Petrucciani was a brilliant player from the start.
This CD features a logical combination of two talented Frenchmen, violinist Stephane Grappelli and pianist Michel Petrucciani, who had never recorded together before. With the assistance of bassist George Mraz and drummer Roy Haynes, the co-leaders romp on a variety of standards. Petrucciani was 32 at the time of this June 1995 set, a mere child compared to the 87-year-old Grappelli. Despite his age, Grappelli's violin playing sounds as youthful and enthusiastic as it had been in the 1930s; the 60 years of practice had not hurt. While Petrucciani's music is usually in the Bill Evans post-bop vein, he was happy to visit Grappelli's turf on this occasion, mostly playing veteran standards.
After five years during which he emerged from France to become an important figure in the international jazz world, pianist Michel Petrucciani (still a few days shy of his 23rd birthday) debuted on Blue Note with this superior trio outing. Assisted by bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Eliot Zigmund, Petrucciani sometimes shows off the influence of Bill Evans both in the nearly equal roles played by the instruments and in his chord voicings. However, the pianist's own personality does shine through often on the set, which features explorations of four of Petrucciani's tunes, "Night and Day," and "Here's That Rainy Day." Superior post-bop music played by the already brilliant pianist.
Music was a slight departure from pianist Michel Petrucciani's usual Bill Evans-influenced recordings of the period. Petrucciani uses synthesizers (his and Adam Holzman's) on all but two selections, but these are very much in the background, making the ensembles sound a little larger than they actually are. Petrucciani's ten originals range from romantic ("Memories of Paris") and manic ("My Bebop Tune") to charming ("Lullaby") and funky ("Play Me") with a generous supply of Latin-tinged pieces and one rhythmic vocal by Tania Maria; Joe Lovano (on soprano) and the accordion of Gil Goldstein make one appearance apiece.