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New French Jazz

Reviewed December 2004 by Dustin Garlitz, Editor: JazzTalent.com


     Jean-Michel Pilc was recently featured on BET on Jazz’s Live at the Knitting Factory series.  His most recent album is titled Welcome Home and is issued by Dreyfus Jazz, a French recording label that released bebop pianist Bud Powell’s Blue Note club recording from the 1960s (which features Kenny Clarke).  The session opens with Miles Davis’ modal composition "So What" (from Kind of Blue) and Pilc plays the composition out-of-time with bassist Francois Moutin complementing him.  The trio covers the standards "I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good" and "Stella by Starlight".  Pilc does an excellent job on the composition Solitude; the arrangement is almost as original as the Charles Mingus version (from the Mingus, Mingus, Mingus Impulse! album).  The highlights for me are the trio’s takes on Coltrane’s "Cousin Mary" and "Giant Steps".  Also memorable is Monk’s Rhythm-A-Ning, which is really just a cover for ‘Rhythm changes’ (I used to play that number a lot with Reggie Workman’s Ensemble).  Drummer Ari Hoenig is exceptional throughout the album. 

       If you want to know more about this group, or about the state of modern French Jazz, I recommend visiting JazzValley.com