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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 January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

In an interview, Michel Petrucciani said "...my biggest inspiration is Duke Ellington, because in my very early age he gave [me] the inspiration to play the piano." For Promenade with Duke Petrucciani not only honors music Ellington composed, but music with which he was associated. There are some Billy Strayhorn pieces and other songs where Ellington's compositional contributions are arguably marginal. That the album offers an adventure in harmony is predicted by the first cut, "Caravan." Stretching over seven minutes in length, it explores, in-depth, virtually every nuance of this 1936 hit which Ellington wrote with trombonist Juan Tizol. Bold approaches to harmonies notwithstanding, Petrucciani does not desert his basic let-it-all-hang-out romanticism which he celebrates on "Lush Life." He emphasizes feelings of sentimentality in his rendition of "In a Sentimental Mood." His interpretation is brooding and introspective, but every now and then some bright chords hold out the hope that the somber climate may be passing. Petrucciani is a master at clarifying the mood he is trying to create with his piano. Not all the music on the album is familiar Ellington, as shown in the presence of two rarely performed pieces, "Hidden Joy" and "One Night in the Hotel." It is on the well-known "Take the 'A' Train," however, that Petrucciani expresses best the joy he experiences with Ellington's music and the influence it has had on him. His is a rousing, twisting rendition of the Duke's signature tune. Promenade with Duke is one of the more innovative and stimulating sets of solo piano performances of Ellington's music on disc. © Dave Nathan /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Blue Note Records

This is an all-star summit that works quite well. Pianist Michel Petrucciani, a major jazz musician who had already led 11 record dates by this time (despite still being only 23), teams up with guitarist Jim Hall at the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival for two lyrical duets: the altered blues "Careful," in which they comp exquisitely behind each other's solos, and "In a Sentimental Mood." Petrucciani and Hall are joined by Wayne Shorter on soprano and tenor for "Limbo," "Morning Blues," and the calypso "Bimini," and these songs feature some of Shorter's finest jazz playing of the era. Highly recommended. [A video/DVD was also released.] © 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
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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, 1984 | Blue Note Records

If it were not for Michel Petrucciani's good taste, it is likely that his very impressive technique would dominate his solos. As it is, the pianist has been able to use his technique in surprising ways, avoiding the obvious and showing self-restraint while coming up with ingenious ideas in his improvisations. This solo album, his first for an American label, finds Petrucciani exploring pieces by Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, and Sonny Rollins, in addition to two of his own songs and a lengthy wandering medley that somehow incorporates "Someday My Prince Will Come," "All the Things You Are," "A Child Is Born," and Bill Evans' "Very Early" into a collage. A very impressive outing. © Scott Yanow /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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Jazz - Released October 16, 1995 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released May 3, 2010 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Michel Petrucciani in the magazine