Jean-Michel Pilc Trio

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On his first disc for the Dreyfus label, Jean-Michel Pilc keeps his regular trio intact and continues to work maniacal wonders, mostly with standards. Beginning with a fast and playful "So What," Pilc, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Ari Hoenig toss the familiar figure back and forth, stretching it wildly while preserving the integrity of the form. Duke Ellington and John Coltrane each get a double nod, the former with sparse yet off-kilter readings of "I Got It Bad" and "Solitude," the latter with short, back-to-back deconstructions of "Cousin Mary" and "Giant Steps." And Monk, one of Pilc's main influences, is represented with "Rhythm-a-Ning," featuring spirited trading between Pilc and Moutin and a meltdown of an ending. The trio locates wonderful new secrets in the harmonic folds of "Stella by Starlight," "Tenderly," and even Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair." Pilc's four originals resound with conceptual daring, particularly the frenetic "Colchiques Dans les Prés" and the churning, funky "Serial Mother Blues." A strong statement from a trio that continues to defy classification.

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