Jacky Terrasson Trio | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jacky Terrasson Trio 

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JACKY TERRASSON TRIO

The French-born pianist Jacky Terrasson has borrowed judiciously from Keith Jarrett in his sharply etched melodicism and his romantic phrasing; he has taken even more from Ahmad Jamal, in his use of space, his intimate concept of the piano trio, and his highly stylized arrangements. You could do a lot worse in choosing two models for a lyrical yet restrained, often quite inventive keyboard persona. Terrasson burst onto the U.S. scene in 1993, when at age 27 he won the Thelonious Monk Institute piano competition, and then a little over a year later released his widely praised and wildly promoted album Jacky Terrasson--a program of high-concept performances that revealed his formidable technique and starkly dramatic method of structuring a solo. Since then, though, not so much; and while it's a little soon to ask, Whatever happened to Jacky Terrasson? his recent past does make you wonder what his future holds. On his promising follow-up, Reach, Terrasson took the title to heart: the album contained fewer hooks and more ambiguities than its predecessor. As a result, of course, it received half the attention. Two years have passed since then, and in that time Terrasson's given us only Rendezvous (Blue Note), the newly released album with jazz diva Cassandra Wilson. While it presents both artists with all their trademarks intact, it reneges on Reach's promise, in that only a couple tunes really open up for the pianist. For all these reasons, Terrasson's appearance should be nearly as intriguing as his Chicago "debut" two years ago (Terrasson actually lived here in the early 90s, performing in a few small clubs and remaining for the most part a musicians' secret). His trio once again stars drummer Leon Parker--whose minimalist wizardry on a stripped-down kit is fundamental to the trio's aesthetic--along with Terrasson's usual bassist, Ugonna Okegwo of the dark velvet tone and spacious sustaining notes. Friday and Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Jimmy Katz.

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