Martial Solal Trio: Ballade du 10 Mars

My acquaintance with Solal’s work dates from the Sixties, when his prodigious technique helped gain some attention in U.S. jazz circles.

Esteemed colleague Art Lange makes the case for Solal as a great and original French voice and while this is perhaps overstated (as may be expected), he’s right that Solal deserves greater attention. The fact that much of the material here is familiar (“Midnight,” “Night and Day,” “My Old Flame”) is turned to advantage by Solal’s persistently unconventional approach to harmony and, especially, phrasing. Where the younger edition let you know how much piano he could play, this record reveals a musician whose concern is focused on constantly shifting improvisations. And his conception is much more modern, at times reminding one of Misha Mengleburg. Marc Johnson and Paul Motion provide exemplary support.