Michel Petrucciani

Flamingo/Marvellous

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Two separate CDs featuring pianist Michel Petrucciani are heard in their entirety on this double-disc compilation issued in 2006. Flamingo was officially violinist Stéphane Grappelli's date as a leader, with Petrucciani, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Roy Haynes making up an outstanding rhythm section. Most of the session is devoted to standards long a part of Grappelli's repertoire, though the violinist is clearly stimulated by Petrucciani and company. The pianist's lush introduction to "Flamingo" sets up a marvelous duet, while the old warhorse "I Got Rhythm" swings like mad. The octogenarian dives headfirst into the pianist's upbeat "Little Peace in C for U," while Grappelli contributed the miniature ballad "Valse du Passé," which closes his only recorded meeting with Petrucciani. The last ten tracks are from a session led by the pianist with bassist Dave Holland, drummer Tony Williams, and the Graffiti String Quartet. Each one of Petrucciani's eight originals is striking. "Manhattan" is a whirlwind post-bop affair, suggesting the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, while "Charlie Brown" is a lighthearted number, a simple repeated riff that is developed into an upbeat, funky miniature. He revisits his delightful waltz "Even Mice Dance," with the strings adding a nice touch, while "You Are My Waltz" is a challenging number with a constantly shifting theme. Philippe Petrucciani (the leader's father) contributed the driving "Why," where Michel demonstrates his formidable technique at the keyboard. The mournful ballad "Besame Mucho" was long one of Petrucciani's favorite songs; in this moving rendition he stays true to the mood of the song, playing it in a deliberate manner.

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