Michel Petrucciani

The Complete Dreyfus Jazz Recordings

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Michel Petrucciani had already accomplished so much when he passed away in 1999 at the age of 36, yet there is a sense of unfinished business about him. Because of his osteogenesis imperfecta, which caused him to stop growing at three feet tall, Petrucciani knew he was on borrowed time; he never let it stop him yet he did work at a more feverish pace than most in order to make his mark. Prolific and far-reaching artistically, he was a remarkable artist and human being with seemingly limitless ideas to draw from--had he survived a while longer there's no telling where this piano virtuoso (whose arms were so short that reaching all of the keys was a chore) might have gone. In the end though, it's his considerable recorded body of work that we have to go on, and it transcends his personal story. This ten-CD/two-DVD box set celebrates the tail-end of that journey. Petrucciani cut his earliest albums for the French Owl label, then recorded for Blue Note before coming to Dreyfus in 1994. The box contains all of his work as leader or co-leader for Dreyfus, beginning with that year's Marvellous, a rich set that found the pianist in the company of bassist Dave Holland and drum legend Tony Williams. Petrucciani never had trouble attracting fine collaborators, a fact borne out by 1996's Flamingo, co-billed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and also featuring drummer Roy Haynes and bassist George Mraz; 2003's Dreyfus Night in Paris, with Marcus Miller, Biréli Lagrène, Lenny White, and Kenny Garrett; and 2001's Conversation, a duet with guitarist Tony Petrucciani, the pianist's father. Petrucciani was just as effective in a solo setting, however, and the double-disc, 1997 Piano Solo: The Complete Concert in Germany is rich, consistently inspired and full of surprises. The DVDs each contain two films and combine concert performances and documentary material.

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