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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 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 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 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 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 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, 1995 | Dreyfus Jazz

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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 July 30, 2012 | 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 July 30, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Having untethered himself from the United States and Blue Note Records, Petrucciani returned to France and promptly zapped out one of his finest, most unusual recordings. By this time, Petrucciani had found his own stylistic groove, his technique sharpened to an enviable degree, his melodic bent fresh and inextinguishable. To these assets, Petrucciani added two ex-Miles Davis sidekicks of some note, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Tony Williams, who provide a furious polyrhythmic kick for the pianist to groove on. And there is something else put together just for the session: the Graffiti String Quartet, a quartet of Frenchman who have mastered the elusive craft of swinging on the strings. Everything works: Petrucciani exploits his melodic gift and comes up with an attractive set of eight compositions (there is also one by Philippe Petrucciani and "Besame Mucho" is thrown in as a parting shot), Williams shuffles the rhythms up in his explosive manner, the string quartet fills the spaces without overloading the textures or interfering with the Williams/Holland machine. Furthermore, the impact of America is still very much present in tunes like "Manhattan," which is astonishing in its hard-swinging single lines, and "Charlie Brown," an apparent reference to the Peanuts scores with a definite Vince Guaraldi quality in the rhythm and left hand. The only melancholy thing about this splendid session is the realization that Petrucciani and Williams are no longer around, cruelly taken before the decade was out when they were still relatively young men. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 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 July 30, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Michel Petrucciani always excelled in front of a live audience, and this 1992 concert with his father Tony accompanying him on guitar is no exception, though it's a shame it wasn't released until 2001, some two years after the pianist's death. An adventurous exploration of "Summertime" serves as a strong opener, followed by the playful waltz "Sometime Ago." The complex introduction to "All the Things You Are" and well disguised path into "My Funny Valentine" are by themselves worth the price of the CD. Michel gets a bit heavy-handed during parts of "Someday My Prince Will Come," overwhelming his partner's soft chords. There are solo features, too: Tony Petrucciani tackles Django Reinhardt's lovely ballad "Nuages" with finesse; while Michel is no doubt inspired by Bill Evans' many recordings of Miles Davis' "Nardis," he finds his own path during a dramatic improvisation. The sign off by the duo includes a rapid-fire take of "Billie's Bounce" and a gently swinging version of "Satin Doll." Recommended. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 21, 2008 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released December 9, 2008 | Dreyfus Jazz

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, 1997 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released June 26, 2000 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released November 10, 2009 | Dreyfus Jazz

After reissuing virtually every recording in their catalog by pianist Michel Petrucciani, the Dreyfus label followed up with a considerably more compact and affordable selection in the form of the Original Album Classics five-CD set. Conference de Presse, which dates from 1994, is an album of piano and organ duets with Parisian keyboardist Eddy Louiss. Flamingo, from 1995, finds Petrucciani in the company of violinist Stéphane Grappelli, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Roy Haynes. The rest of the material in this set traces back to the years 1996-1997. Trio in Tokyo provides evidence of the collaborative communion between Petrucciani, drummer Steve Gadd, and bassist Anthony Jackson. This threesome formed the nucleus of the ensemble heard on Both Worlds, with the addition of saxophonist Stefano di Battista, trumpeter Flavio Boltro, and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, who also acted as arranger on this album. Solo Live taps into Petrucciani's one-man performance at a concert hall in Frankfurt, Germany, which rounds out the package very nicely. Taking into account the amount of recording that Petrucciani did for Dreyfus, this is a nice little taste. The truly smitten may want or need to save up for the 14-piece mothership box known as The Complete Dreyfus Jazz Recordings, a ten-album retrospective garnished with two DVDs. © arwulf arwulf /TiVo

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Michel Petrucciani in the magazine