Jacky Terrasson

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Blue Note
PERFORMER: Terrasson (p); Ugonna Okegwo (b); Leon Parker (d)
CATALOGUE NO: CDP 829351 2

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Any young pianist who comes recommended by singer Betty Carter has to be worth listening to, since her talent-spotting powers are legendary, but when he has also won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition, as Terrasson did in 1993, close attention becomes downright compulsory.

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On this, his major-label debut, the 28-year-old pianist lives up to any reasonable expectations and then some. With a quirky but cogent adventurousness reminiscent of Monk or Herbie Nichols, and an ability to exploit space unrivalled this side of Ahmed Jamal, Terrasson delights the brain and heart in equal measure, but it is his musical maturity which impresses overall, whether he is teasing all the rhythmic and melodic possibilities out of old chestnuts like ‘I Love Paris’ and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ or stretching out on his own slow blues, one of four originals on this superb album. If there has been a more enjoyable piano-trio recording issued in the last few years, I’ve yet to hear it. Chris Parker