Search - Martial Solal, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian :: Just Friends

Just Friends
Martial Solal, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian
Just Friends
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Even at his advanced age, French pianist Martial Solal sounds none the worse for his overall obscurity in jazz. He's a tremendous pianist, gracing the keys with hard-hit chords and a paradoxically fleet execution. With his...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Martial Solal, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian
Title: Just Friends
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Dreyfus
Original Release Date: 5/19/1998
Release Date: 5/19/1998
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 764911659220, 3460503659223

Even at his advanced age, French pianist Martial Solal sounds none the worse for his overall obscurity in jazz. He's a tremendous pianist, gracing the keys with hard-hit chords and a paradoxically fleet execution. With his mix of strength and agility, Solal sounds a tad like early Bud Powell, or even like an array of hard-bop pianists. His take on "Just Friends" is downright upbeat, pegging high points all around a tune that Chet Baker made so memorably melancholy decades ago. With drummer Paul Motian and bassist Gary Peacock as his trio mates, Solal capitalizes on Peacock's keen ear for subtlety and energetic, buoyant quickness as well as Motian's pouncing exactness. Solal sounds a bit like many of his erstwhile U.S. contemporaries, specifically Red Garland on the upbeat side and Bill Evans on the dreamier side. And for good measure, Solal clearly knows his fast, sharp Art Tatum techniques. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

A European master
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 03/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Martial Solal is one of the veterans of the European jazz scene, who with players like Tete Montoliu & Stan Tracey has probably worked with just about every single American jazz musician to tour Europe in the last half-century. He's a highly original player, taking influences like Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk & Art Tatum, & a grounding in classical music (there's a tribute here to Chopin, for instance), & combining them with a keen & idiosyncratic ear.This album finds him working with the peerless rhythm section of Gary Peacock and Paul Motian. The disc is split between covers of familiar standards--"Just Friends", "You Stepped Out of a Dream", "Willow Weep for Me", "Summertime" & "I'm Getting Sentimental over You"--and a handful of Solal originals.I've given this disc a relatively low rating for a few reasons. One is that Solal's approach is not entirely to my taste: his lines are typically fluttery & fleet, & he is rather mannered in his attraction to "wrong" notes & unexpected intervals. Solos are invariably fast & many-noted, bursting with ideas; but since he is not a deeply emotional player, the results are impressive but rarely cut deeper. (It occurs to me that one player he reminds of a little is Adam Makowicz, about whom much the same might be said to judge by the recordings I've heard.) The exceptions mostly come, oddly enough, not on standards but on originals: the Chopin homage in particular, brief though it is, is quite lovely.Another reservation here concerns Paul Motian: this is surely one of his least impressive sideman appearances. Strangely, he plays brushes for the entire date, even though the liner notes show a session photo of him playing sticks. He does little of note here, & even his normally excellent sense of time fails him sometimes, as if he wasn't really paying attention (he loses his place in "You Stepped Out of a Dream" towards the end of Solal's last solo chorus, for instance).This is a good album, & pianists in particular will want a listen. But it remains nonetheless pretty chilly in its emotional impact. There are more satisfying contemporary piano discs out there--try for instance Walter Norris or Alan Broadbent. & I get a lot more out of Michel Petrucciani among his compatriots--try the fine Village Vanguard sessions."
Must-hear jazz piano by an underrated master.
N. Dorward | 04/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Just Friends" marks Martial Solal's long-overdue return to the trio format - and the result is one of the finest jazz piano records I've heard in a long time. Superbly backed by Paul Motian on drums and Gary Peacock on bass, Solal at seventy plays with the creativity and chops of a man half his age. There is not a cliché in sight, not one moment's indecisiveness. His version of the title tune fairly bursts with energy and inventiveness, breathing new life into a much-abused warhorse, while the other pieces on the CD are all on the same outstanding level. If you are at all into jazz piano, this is a recording you cannot afford to miss."
Monk meets Tatum meets Powell...
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 03/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This fast and furios series of trio extravaganzas is quite impresive; if you ever wondered whether Monk's analytical concept would make sense in faster tempos - here is the answer: yes, if done by a true master...

Admittedly, I'm not a true expert in music; just a fan, but I must say I like very much the way Solal treats jazz standards, whereas his own compositions, "Coming yesterday", "Sacrebleu" and even the lovely "Hommage a Frederic Chopin" stand the comparisson to the best of modern-jazz standards."