Michel Legrand

Jazz in Paris: Paris Jazz Piano

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Near the beginning of his career, Michel Legrand was primarily known as a jazz pianist, so it shouldn't be surprising to learn that none of his compositions are present on these 1959 studio sessions, which were issued by Phillips. With bassist Guy Pederson and drummer Gus Wallez, Legrand covers songs by French composers of the day along with the ever-popular "Moulin Rouge" and a somewhat upbeat arrangement of Edith Piaf's usually maudlin "La Vie en Rose," as well as standards from the Great American Songbook by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Vernon Duke, and Mack Gordon. Most of the songs have a Parisian theme to them. Legrand's piano style is hard to define, as he shows a variety of influences without letting any of them overwhelm his sound. His eventual fame as a composer would grow tremendously during the decades that followed the making of this recording, but this LP from the Jazz in Paris series is well worth purchasing to get a taste of his early career.

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