Martial Solal

Longitude

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Eighty years old at the time of these 2007 sessions, Martial Solal is still full of surprises, with technique and wit to spare at the keyboard. Joined by his longtime rhythm section, bassist Fran├žois Moutin and drummer Louis Moutin, the pianist digs into standards but reconstructs them into almost new compositions, adding intricate detours and hinting at the themes only briefly, especially in his wild romp through "Here's That Rainy Day," and the odd but hilarious entrance into the old warhorse "Tea for Two." His seven original works are just as fascinating: "Solaltitude" conveys loneliness with an eerie air; "Short Cuts" and "Navigation" venture into avant-garde jazz territory in a tense setting, though with a touch of humor as well. Yet it is hard to top Solal's "Slightly Bluesy," a tense, explosive opener that is the best overall showcase for his outstanding trio.

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