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January/February 2002

Michel Petrucciani/Tony Petrucciani
Conversation
Dreyfus Records

No sooner has the guitar stated the opening of "Summertime" than Michel Petrucciani leaps in with a piano solo that is scintillating in its speed, precision and surging exuberance. That's symptomatic of what happens throughout this hugely enjoyable disc. Recorded live in Lyon, France, in Nov. 1992, the CD documents one concert from an international tour that featured Michel in duo with the man he introduces as "mon pere et mon professeur, Tony Petrucciani."

The two certainly sound good together, at ease and well attuned. Michel is, of course, the star; his mercurial, highly embroidered lyricism is infused with the sheer joy of playing. Tony makes an admirable foil, his modest, concise style providing a welcome respite at times from his son's fireworks. Each man gets a brief solo feature ("Nuages," "Nardis"); otherwise it's conversation all the way, an engaging mix of the intimate and the dazzling. The program is nearly all standards: freewheeling versions of "Summertime" and "All the Things You Are," an elaborate "My Funny Valentine," a gently lilting "Someday My Prince Will Come." Perhaps less expected is the duo's exhilarating dash through "Billie's Bounce." "Michel's Blues," penned by Tony, and the encore of Ellington's "Satin Doll" bring a more clipped, even funky approach. But mostly this set is a high-spirited display of Michel's particular kind of rococo brilliance-a lot of notes, a lot of fun.

Originally published in January/February 2002
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