Smile is a good showcase for pianist Jacky Terrasson's patented blend of mischief and mastery. A kind of companion piece to the superb A Paris (Blue Note, 2000), two tracks extend its "I love Paris" theme: the dazzling "Parisian Thoroughfare," and the luscious, dreamy "Sous le Ciel de Paris," (aka "Paris Skies"). This CD is a typically eclectic Terrasson mix, combining the classic and contemporary with formidable technique and playfulness. Terrasson personalizes the title track by infusing it with his own little theme, a kind of cowboy refrain, and giving it a smooth, propulsive flow in tricky five/four rhythm. It's a startling conception, and beautifully realized. Another show-stopper is the haunting "The Dolphin," by Brazilian composer Luis Eca, where bassist Sean Smith delivers a bold and brilliant extended solo, full of lyricism and swing. On "My Funny Valentine," the trio defies the laws of nature: they burn this overdone classic and make it rare. Elsewhere, Terrasson deranges Stevie Wonder, funking it up with Remi Vignolo's electric bass; he meditates on "Nardis" over a deep, steady groove of bass and drums, and takes an intricate, unpredictable solo journey on "Autumn Leaves." Terrasson has been called "flamboyant," but this overlooks the sensitivity in his playing. While he's known for being adventurous, he's no showoff: his respect for the music and the listener is always evident. Two more things are certain: Terrasson sounds like nobody else, and this CD is full of surprise and delight.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Judith Schlesinger