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Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Blue Note Records

Pianist Michel Petrucciani, who during the early part of his career was heavily influenced by Bill Evans, gradually developed his own sound. By 1991 he was using Adam Holzman on synthesizer with his quintet (which on this date also includes bassist Anthony Jackson, drummer Omar Hakim and percussionist Steve Thornton) to play colors behind his piano. In addition, Petrucciani was backed by funky rhythms and emphasized his own original compositions. Rather than selling out to blatant commercialism, Petrucciani had actually found his own voice within the "contemporary" setting. The music on his CD is of consistently high quality (despite a few too many fadeouts). Highlights include "Miles Davis' Licks" (a blues that utilizes some of Davis' late-period nursery rhyme melodies), the intense "Brazilian Suite #3," a playful jam on "Laws of Physics" and the Keith Jarrett-ish "P'tit Louis." Actually, all 11 of Michel Petrucciani's originals are worth hearing and, despite the brief playing time (39 minutes) of this CD, it is recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 25, 2019 | Disques Dreyfus

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Jazz - Released July 30, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

This CD features a logical combination of two talented Frenchmen, violinist Stéphane 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. On such songs as "Sweet Georgia Brown," "How About You" (here mistitled "I Love New York in June"), "I Remember April," and "There Will Never Be Another You," Stephane Grappelli is both joyful and masterful. Highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 30, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Pianist Petrucciani was somewhat of a chameleon, inclined to go from mainstream jazz to more contemporary beats, which makes the rhythm team of electric bass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd a good combination. They push and pull the pianist, flexing their fusion-oriented muscles while providing a swinging backdrop that Petrucciani can relate to, allowing him to exhibit his unbridled lyricism. This is a live club date done at the Blue Note in Tokyo, and the crowd response is indicative of the kineticism flowing on the bandstand from these three outstanding musicians. The trio swings hard on "Training," one of seven Petrucciani originals. It's a basic melody rivaling the best of Tommy Flanagan's work. Gadd's swing/funk informs "September Second," which sets the pianist on a melodic tear of modally repeated choruses as a basis for his startling improvisations. The lilting ballad "Home," with its slight samba inferences, goes into a disco shuffle and "Just the Way You Are" tonalities. Then the trio cuts loose for Petrucciani's flying bop number "Little Peace in C For U," a showstopper no matter your preference. Gadd's seldom-heard brush work on the ballad-to-easy-swing of "Love Letter" has the band gelling nicely, while "Cantabile" incorporates light funk underneath Petrucciani's paraphrasings of snippets from "Blues Skies" and "Without a Song." A more rambling melodicism that can go anywhere -- and does -- accents the modal, pedal-point base of the funky lite blue "Colors" with quotes straight from "But Beautiful" and "But Not for Me." As an encore closer, the trio begins politely on the Miles Davis evergreen "So What!," but grows energetic and animated halfway through. There is an emphasis on interplay, especially from Gadd on the latter bridgework. This is another posthumous reminder of how wonderful Petrucciani could be in a spontaneous concert setting, playing his own music with most capable musicians. Recommended. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 22, 1999 | Dreyfus Jazz

Pianist Petrucciani was somewhat of a chameleon, inclined to go from mainstream jazz to more contemporary beats, which makes the rhythm team of electric bass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd a good combination. They push and pull the pianist, flexing their fusion-oriented muscles while providing a swinging backdrop that Petrucciani can relate to, allowing him to exhibit his unbridled lyricism. This is a live club date done at the Blue Note in Tokyo, and the crowd response is indicative of the kineticism flowing on the bandstand from these three outstanding musicians. The trio swings hard on "Training," one of seven Petrucciani originals. It's a basic melody rivaling the best of Tommy Flanagan's work. Gadd's swing/funk informs "September Second," which sets the pianist on a melodic tear of modally repeated choruses as a basis for his startling improvisations. The lilting ballad "Home," with its slight samba inferences, goes into a disco shuffle and "Just the Way You Are" tonalities. Then the trio cuts loose for Petrucciani's flying bop number "Little Peace in C For U," a showstopper no matter your preference. Gadd's seldom-heard brush work on the ballad-to-easy-swing of "Love Letter" has the band gelling nicely, while "Cantabile" incorporates light funk underneath Petrucciani's paraphrasings of snippets from "Blues Skies" and "Without a Song." A more rambling melodicism that can go anywhere -- and does -- accents the modal, pedal-point base of the funky lite blue "Colors" with quotes straight from "But Beautiful" and "But Not for Me." As an encore closer, the trio begins politely on the Miles Davis evergreen "So What!," but grows energetic and animated halfway through. There is an emphasis on interplay, especially from Gadd on the latter bridgework. This is another posthumous reminder of how wonderful Petrucciani could be in a spontaneous concert setting, playing his own music with most capable musicians. Recommended. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 11, 2019 | SWR Jazzhaus

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Blue Note Records

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. Worth investigating. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 19, 2009 | Dreyfus Jazz

Both pianist Michel Petrucciani and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen had considerable discographies and died far too young, Petrucciani in his mid-thirties and Pedersen at 58. Both men were virtuosos on their respective instruments, Petrucciani having played with a number of jazz greats in his all-too-brief career, while Pedersen began playing with visiting and expatriate Americans when only a teenager and especially made his mark in numerous recordings with the great Oscar Peterson. This performance at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse was unrehearsed and possibly the only time the two men played together, but their chemistry is immediate as they tackle a wide swath of standards and familiar jazz compositions. This is hardly a meeting where the bassist is merely accompanying the pianist; they engage in musical dialogues, frequently at a brisk tempo, and each interprets where the other is going in the performance, not an easy task for musicians not familiar with one another. Obvious highlights are the playful, tightrope-walking, and intricate take of Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," the spirited waltzing "Someday My Prince Will Come," the somewhat whimsical setting of "'Round Midnight," and the pulsing take of "Stella by Starlight" (a refreshing change from the typical straight ballad arrangement). It seems odd that this music remained unreleased for nearly 15 years after it was recorded, but this two-disc set is a perfect example of both musicians being very much at the top of their respective games. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 15, 1997 | Dreyfus Jazz

The diminutive French pianist Michel Petrucciani continues to display immense talent at the keyboard, but for a change, he's turned to another musician to arrange his original material. Seasoned arranger and superb trombonist Bob Brookmeyer makes a major contribution, adding very different shadings than the leader would have chosen. Rich unison lines flesh out "35 Seconds of Music and More," and Brookmeyer creates an especially melancholy mood for "Colors." An ominous introduction to "Training" dissolves later into a joyful bossa nova. This recommended CD also features trumpeter Flavio Boltro, saxophonist Stefano Di Battista, bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 30, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Solo Live, released shortly after his death, marks pianist Michel Petrucciani's lasting solo gift to the jazz world. Though clearly a virtuoso on his instrument, his playing always seemed to reflect as much respect for the audience as it did for his own talent. At its essence, Petrucciani's music is remarkably buoyant, decidedly joyful, improvisationally aggressive, and, above all, intended to evoke an emotional response on the part of the listener. His amazing reading of Ellington's "Caravan" is characteristic of this unique style. However, the pianist may best be remembered for his original compositions and three of his most memorable are included here. "Looking Up," as the title would suggest, is overtly optimistic and inherently hopeful. "Home" is a clearly enunciated statement of warmth and comfort. "Brazilian Like" is orchestral and melodic to the point at which the tune remains in one's head long after its conclusion. Petrucciani closes the album with the medley of "She Did It Again/Take the A Train/She Did It Again" -- his original sandwiched around Strayhorn's classic. A befitting set-closer for this extraordinary musician. © Brian Bartolini /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Dreyfus Jazz

A lot of people first became aware of French pianist Michel Petrucciani through his work with Charles Lloyd in the early '80s. Standing barely three feet tall, he lived with complications from glass-bone disease, a painful, genetically transmitted condition known to medical science as osteogenesis imperfecta. While growing up, Petrucciani suffered hundreds of bone fractures, and throughout his meteoric career he sometimes broke fingers during performance. Extraordinarily gifted and restlessly active in spite of it all, he continued to perform and record like a whirlwind before succumbing to a pulmonary ailment at the age of 36 in January 1999. Petrucciani appeared before the public as a soloist at the Alte Oper Concert Hall in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on February 27, 1997. Portions of that performance were posthumously released by the Dreyfus label just months after his passing. Ten years later the complete unedited concert recording was made available as a double CD, expanded from 11 to 20 tracks. Here is your opportunity to experience Petrucciani in person, fully alive and in excellent form. Everything people remember about him is suddenly brought forward with rewarding immediacy, including the sound of his voice. All of his recordings are worth exploring. This one qualifies as utterly essential. © arwulf arwulf /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 19, 2009 | Dreyfus Jazz

Both pianist Michel Petrucciani and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen had considerable discographies and died far too young, Petrucciani in his mid-thirties and Pedersen at 58. Both men were virtuosos on their respective instruments, Petrucciani having played with a number of jazz greats in his all-too-brief career, while Pedersen began playing with visiting and expatriate Americans when only a teenager and especially made his mark in numerous recordings with the great Oscar Peterson. This performance at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse was unrehearsed and possibly the only time the two men played together, but their chemistry is immediate as they tackle a wide swath of standards and familiar jazz compositions. This is hardly a meeting where the bassist is merely accompanying the pianist; they engage in musical dialogues, frequently at a brisk tempo, and each interprets where the other is going in the performance, not an easy task for musicians not familiar with one another. Obvious highlights are the playful, tightrope-walking, and intricate take of Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," the spirited waltzing "Someday My Prince Will Come," the somewhat whimsical setting of "'Round Midnight," and the pulsing take of "Stella by Starlight" (a refreshing change from the typical straight ballad arrangement). It seems odd that this music remained unreleased for nearly 15 years after it was recorded, but this two-disc set is a perfect example of both musicians being very much at the top of their respective games. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Blue Note Records

The single-disc Best Of outing is a mixed blessing. The 12 performances include the wonderful "Bimini" from Power Of Three, as well as trio and quartet takes from arguably his best release, Pianism, and six cuts with him playing acoustic and electric keyboards on the same composition. But the disc gives a grab-bag feel for Petrucciani the composer and improviser; we can't tell how his approach evolved, nor chart his growth or stagnation. In addition, the company doesn't even provide complete recording information, omitting the dates for the tracks. The ridiculously exaggerated, incomplete liner notes place Petrucciani in the company of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, an absurd comparison...So while it isn't a definitive compilation, it does function as more of a sampler for neophytes. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Dreyfus Jazz

This CD features a logical combination of two talented Frenchmen, violinist Stéphane 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. On such songs as "Sweet Georgia Brown," "How About You" (here mistitled "I Love New York in June"), "I Remember April," and "There Will Never Be Another You," Stephane Grappelli is both joyful and masterful. Highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Blue Note Records

Michel Petrucciani's decision to utilize Adam Holzman on atmospheric electric keyboards behind his piano playing was an excellent idea. Not only did it give him an "orchestral" setting in which to improvise, but it enabled Petrucciani to completely escape the Bill Evans influence that has made so many other pianists sound a bit derivative. For this set (recorded at a concert in France), Petrucciani is joined by Holzman, bassist Steve Logan, drummer Victor Jones and percussionist Abdou M'Boop on seven of his originals and "Estate." Highlights include "Miles Davis Licks," "Rachid," and "Thank You Note," but all eight selections work quite well as part of a set of colorful post-bop music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Jazz - Released December 9, 2008 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Michel Petrucciani had already accomplished so much when he passed away in 1999 at the age of 36, yet there is a sense of unfinished business about him. Because of his osteogenesis imperfecta, which caused him to stop growing at three feet tall, Petrucciani knew he was on borrowed time; he never let it stop him yet he did work at a more feverish pace than most in order to make his mark. Prolific and far-reaching artistically, he was a remarkable artist and human being with seemingly limitless ideas to draw from--had he survived a while longer there's no telling where this piano virtuoso (whose arms were so short that reaching all of the keys was a chore) might have gone. In the end though, it's his considerable recorded body of work that we have to go on, and it transcends his personal story. This ten-CD/two-DVD box set celebrates the tail-end of that journey. Petrucciani cut his earliest albums for the French Owl label, then recorded for Blue Note before coming to Dreyfus in 1994. The box contains all of his work as leader or co-leader for Dreyfus, beginning with that year's Marvellous, a rich set that found the pianist in the company of bassist Dave Holland and drum legend Tony Williams. Petrucciani never had trouble attracting fine collaborators, a fact borne out by 1996's Flamingo, co-billed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and also featuring drummer Roy Haynes and bassist George Mraz; 2003's Dreyfus Night in Paris, with Marcus Miller, Biréli Lagrène, Lenny White, and Kenny Garrett; and 2001's Conversation, a duet with guitarist Tony Petrucciani, the pianist's father. Petrucciani was just as effective in a solo setting, however, and the double-disc, 1997 Piano Solo: The Complete Concert in Germany is rich, consistently inspired and full of surprises. The DVDs each contain two films and combine concert performances and documentary material. © Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Dreyfus Jazz

The great pianist Michel Petrucciani recorded for the Dreyfus label during the six years before his 1999 death. Producer/label owner Francis Dreyfus is worried about Petrucciani being underrated if not completely forgotten, so he put together this sampler of previously released material covering the pianist's 2Dreyfus period. Petrucciani is heard solo, dueting with his father guitarist Tony Petrucciani ("Michel's Blues"), interacting with organist Eddy Louiss, in a trio with bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd, collaborating with violinist Stephane Grappelli (the boppish "Little Peace in C for U" and "Pennies From Heaven"), playing in a sextet with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, and being joined by the Graffiti String Quartet. "Pennies From Heaven" was only previously out on a privately issued CD. Dreyfus did a fine job of picking out the most exciting and emotional selections from his catalog of Petrucciani gems, so one gets to hear one highpoint after another throughout this single-CD sampler. Michel Petrucciani was one of the greats and So What offers plenty of evidence. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

This double LP finds pianist Michel Petrucciani often showing the influence of Bill Evans. His interplay with bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Eliot Zigmund (an Evans alumnus) is consistently impressive and these eight performances (all but two are between eight and 12 minutes long) never lose their momentum. It's recommended for lovers of piano trios. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Blue Note Records

Tackling his own material, with nary a vintage standard within earshot, Petrucciani combines his assertive, driving, mainstream piano with two different trios on two separate occasions. The first half of the program features the hard-swinging combination of bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Roy Haynes, augmented on "One For Us" by the slightly withdrawn guitar of John Abercrombie. The second half finds bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Al Foster providing somewhat smoother, perhaps more conventional support, occasionally with a Latin twinge, and Abercrombie and percussionist Steve Thornton sit in on one number apiece. Petrucciani's compositions are certainly worthy pieces, but as always, the pianist's direct, intelligently probing solos leave the source material way behind; he's an improviser through and through. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

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Michel Petrucciani in the magazine