Michel Petrucciani


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Having untethered himself from the United States and Blue Note Records, Petrucciani returned to France and promptly zapped out one of his finest, most unusual recordings. By this time, Petrucciani had found his own stylistic groove, his technique sharpened to an enviable degree, his melodic bent fresh and inextinguishable. To these assets, Petrucciani added two ex-Miles Davis sidekicks of some note, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Tony Williams, who provide a furious polyrhythmic kick for the pianist to groove on. And there is something else put together just for the session: the Graffiti String Quartet, a quartet of Frenchman who have mastered the elusive craft of swinging on the strings. Everything works: Petrucciani exploits his melodic gift and comes up with an attractive set of eight compositions (there is also one by Philippe Petrucciani and "Besame Mucho" is thrown in as a parting shot), Williams shuffles the rhythms up in his explosive manner, the string quartet fills the spaces without overloading the textures or interfering with the Williams/Holland machine. Furthermore, the impact of America is still very much present in tunes like "Manhattan," which is astonishing in its hard-swinging single lines, and "Charlie Brown," an apparent reference to the Peanuts scores with a definite Vince Guaraldi quality in the rhythm and left hand. The only melancholy thing about this splendid session is the realization that Petrucciani and Williams are no longer around, cruelly taken before the decade was out when they were still relatively young men.

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