Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Ivory's Tower: Michel Petrucciani 60

Michel Petrucciani Quartet - Boo Boo Boo Boo

We're winding down the 2022 festivities, with the penultimate post of the year in honor of a milestone birthday for a true, well..... giant.

He stood all of three feet tall, but there was no one larger behind the 88 keys of the piano.

Afflicted from birth with a rare, degenerative bone disease, he could not walk very far on his own, but once he got to the piano bench that didn't matter, because then he could fly.

His affliction meant he wasn't gonna be around long, and he wasn't, passing away at age 36 at the beginning of 1999.

But whilst he was here, he was like a Jazz dynamo, recording and especially touring -- with ten million superstars, a different all-star band every time -- as furiously as anyone.

A diverse stylist of melodic virtuosity, he could play anything and often did.

Of all the piano deities of our lifetimes, he might be the best comper, with a vast array of subtle stabs and flowing arpeggios bubbling beneath the soloist; always perfectly supportive, yet unmistakably him.

And as a soloist in his own right, well..... let's just say he didn't need a day job.

As elegant and energetic a player as any of us will ever hear, he'd have been 60 today had it not been for osteogenesis imperfecta.

Luckily for us Michel Petrucciani was from Orange in France, so France Musique's Jazz FM channel frequently kicks down entire concerts of his.

Like this marathon performance from 1988, from when he hooked up with guitar visionary John Abercrombie in the scintillating quartet captured here.

Michel Petrucciani Quartet
Théâtre Municipal d'Albi 
Albi, France

01 She Did It Again
02 M
03 It’s a Dance
04 There Will Never Be Another You
05 Boo Boo Boo Boo
06 My Funny Valentine
07 One for Us
08 All the Things You Are
09 Turn Around
10 Autumn Leaves

Total time: 1:44:02
disc break goes after Track 05

Michel Petrucciani - piano
John Abercrombie - guitar
Andy McKee - bass
Eliot Zigmund - drums

digital capture of a 2018 France Musique FM rebroadcast
661 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back on New Year's Eve with a hot anniversary hit, so save your prayers til the morning after for that.

But don't miss out on Mike P. here, born this day in 1962. He might not have stayed long, but he sure left a mark or two.--J.

12.28.1962 - 1.6.1999