True Story

Jean-Michel Pilc

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True Story Review

by Ken Dryden

Jean-Michel Pilc has established himself as one of the major jazz pianists to emerge from Europe around the beginning of the 21st century. Joined by Mingus Big Band bassist Boris Kozlov and veteran drummer Billy Hart, Pilc mixes creative arrangements of several familiar songs with his demanding originals. His take of Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" is full of humor (adding a quick dash of "You and the Night in the Music") while retaining a sensual undercurrent and a sense of adventure with his wild variations, with potent solos all around. Pilc's adaptation of "Try to Remember" (from the long-running Broadway musical The Fantastiks) incorporates dissonant bass chords and several twists that keep it from getting overly sentimental, while the haunting "Relic" is a reworking of a Franz Schubert theme. The high point of Pilc's compositions is his five-part suite "True Story," which incorporates many contrasting styles in its brief segments. Although many jazz journalists have high regard for the work of Jean-Michel Pilc, he remains a treasure awaiting discovery by many American jazz fans.

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