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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JACKY TERRASSON

Take This

Impulse! 0602547127488

 

 

1. Kiff

2. Un Poco Loco

3. Take Five (Take 1)

4. Come Together

5. Dance

6. Blue in Green

7. November

8. Take Five (Take 2)

9. Maladie d’Amour

10. Somebody That I Used to Know

11. Letting Go

Jacky Terrasson – Piano, Fender Rhodes, vocals, percussion, human beatbox, synthesizer bass, synthesizer

Sly Johnson – Vocals, human beatbox

Burnis Travis – Double bass, electric bass

Lukmit Perez – Drums

Adama Diarra – Percussion

This is a piano trio album with a difference. In fact it’s a piano quintet album – with a difference. The main novelty is the use of the human beatbox by both the leader and vocalist Sly Johnson. This gives the music a very modern feel, as does the inventive use of synth on tracks 1 and 10.

The album opens with a Terrasson original – Kiff (a slang word for “cool”). Some ridiculously high-pitched beatboxing leads into a Garneresque section which shows Jacky’s adherence to earlier eras in jazz as well as the sounds of today. Terrasson’s version of Un Poco Loco is smoother than the original as played by its composer, Bud Powell. Jacky glides through it, with prominent bongos as the main accompaniment. When he’s playing synthesizer, he sounds very much like Chick Corea. His first version of Take Five starts with very little reference to Paul Desmond’s tune – so it is a long, improvised introduction in 5/4 before it finally reaches a hint of the melody after three minutes. Lennon & McCartney’s Come Together is given a similarly off-the-wall treatment which turns the song into an African chant.

Dance has very danceable qualities in Terrasson’s jolly piano and the percussion supplied by Malian Adama Diarra and Cuban-born Lukmit Perez. Blue in Green brings huge contrast, with a slow, thoughtful delivery of the Miles Davis tune. Jacky’s composition November transports us to the West Indies with its rhythms, which are almost calypso-like in Jacky’s deliberate obliviousness to bar-lines, a quality which spills over into the dextrous bass solo. Take Five (Take 2) is a display of human beatboxing mixed with wordless vocals and strange sounds from the Fender Rhodes.

Jacky Terrassson is half-French, so he likes to include a French song in each of his albums. This time it is Maladie d’amour, which has a pleasant carnival atmosphere. Somebody That I Used To Know is Jacky entirely alone, over-recorded in various guises. Letting Go is a meditative trio piece capturing the feelings at the end of a love affair. A “bonus track” is listed in the handout but it is absent from my copy of the CD.

Terrasson has a masterly technique but he doesn’t make a self-conscious show of it. Whitney Balliett described jazz as the sound of surprise, and Jacky manages to surprise us with an album full of unexpected twists and turns. You can depend on one thing: that Terrasson will be unpredictable.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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