Jacky_terrasson-what_it_is_span3
September 1999

Jacky Terrasson
What It Is
Blue Note Records

Pianist Jacky Terrasson is characteristic of today's young jazz players. For a time he seemed determined to capture the kind of piano trio classicism embodied by the likes of Bill Evans, with a developing sense of innate communication with minimalist drummer Leon Parker, and bassist Ugonna Okegwo, culminating in their satisfying live recording Alive. The path has changed for Terrasson this time out however, perhaps owed to sheer restlessness. It's a shame that Jacky's generation evidences little interest in developing a real band concept.

All that's not to condemn the current release; there is indeed a lot to like here as Terrasson has determined to showcase his original compositions performed by a varied cast whose core is Okegwo and drummer Jaz Sawyer. Produced by percussionist Mino Cinelu, Terrasson envelopes himself in rhythms from a variety of cultural sources, engages such disparate voices as harmonica player Gregoire Maret, guitars, electric basses, and tasteful use of keyboards to augment his piano in several instances. These landscaping tools are all in service to an attractive program of pieces, from originals to an arrangement of Ravel's "Bolero." Most notable is the comely line "Baby Plum," which hosts Michael Brecker's tenor and Richard Bona's African bass.

Originally published in September 1999
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