René Urtreger is one of the best bop pianists to emerge from the European jazz scene, though he remains little known in the U.S. This 1977 session pairs him with the dynamic guitarist Marc Fossett (who toured and recorded extensively with violinist Stéphane Grappelli), bassist Alby Cullaz, and drummer Jean-Louis Viale. Of course, there are some bop favorites, including an intricate setting of Charlie Parker's "Chasing the Bird" and a driving take of Bud Powell's "Oblivion," the latter a solo piano feature. Standards include a thoughtful "Body and Soul" that prominently showcases Fossett and a creative solo interpretation of "My Old Flame." Urtreger also penned several originals, including the lively "Didi's Bounce" and the jaunty blues "Récidive." Fossett changes the mood a bit with his low-key bossa nova-flavored "Porte 757," while Cullaz contributed the tasty blues "Bassement Votre," in which the pianist initially lays out entirely. The last two tracks, both live duets with Cullaz, were not present on the original LP. Urtreger injects a bit of humor into the mostly somber "I Should Care" by briskly quoting "Kerry Dance," while they romp through "I Hear Music." They are included as a tribute to the bassist, who died in 1998.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden
feat: Axel Stordahl