French pianist Thierry Maillard is a completely new discovery to me and listening to this music was a complete challenge. But it is not 1st time to me when I am coming through the kitchen door to join the party.
Knowing his partners: drummer Yoann Schmidt who previously recorded with Birelli Lagrenne and Sylvain Luc and Hungarian bass men Gabor Gado whom I heard with Chris Potter, Hamid Drake or Flavio Boltro I was expecting high flight conglomeration ,but what I heard exceeded things far over the moon. One could say that we already knew that this planet is there, but knowing is one thing and walking on certainly another. Nether to say that mentioned leaders are among my favourites and adequate rhythmic section able to follow their concepts speak for itself.
Here Maiilard with his trio plus guests completely blown me up with wonderful complexity of his compositions and unspoken virtuosity of their execution. Opening Keops is an energetic tune reminding me Swiss Nik Bärtsch due to it’s percussive nature, however it never goes abstract and the melody is always there. Bravado of section following him makes me speechless. Gado’s fingering points Rufus Reid’s school in its best. But soon in following ballad he turns into deeply emotional articulation a la Garcia Fons , specially when oudist Djemai Abdenour joining in a duo.
Core turns into some kind of Mediterranean muse, but soon few questions are clearly asked on piano and answers given changed the tempo. This is wonderful dialogue showing Thierry’s versatility and deep understanding of European music. Following Beyond the Ocean takes us even deeper there with quest appearance of Didier Malherbe on duduk. Budapest is an obvious pianist’s tribute to his bassist. Wonderfully fingered motif is played with an incredible verve reminding Debussy’s arabesque driven by madness and bathed in returning waves of percussion crescendos.
Coming next Le jardin des reves keeps us in classical mood with a big sound and imaged associations, but it bridges to Keops in percussion like, returning counterpoints. Gado, previously recessed a bit, now stands up with beautiful folk tune played in a bottom register where it all builds up. Icon must be a dedication to Dave Brubeck ,whom the world just lost and it blends main notes from his famous rondo with Thierry’s own saying that great things will never be forgotten.
La cote sauvage reminds me Nyman’s Piano tune with the same intensity , simplicity and illustrative way it catches your imagination. La ligne transatlantique is my favourite on the disc . Gado plays opening notes Arco with strictly baroque articulation. It is almost like quoting Bach Himself. Piano’s answer brings emotions which had been previously mastered by Evans and followers and this is a great school to belong. The way of blending baroque with jazz is pianist’s own and it is different approach than most duplicated Jacques Loussier’s way.
Another outstanding examples are tracks 9 and 12 contributing Didier Malherbe playing duduk. Flutist ( I guess ) brings another sense of nostalgia into the table and its notes makes tune more floating and airy. On both nicely blended to Debora Seffer‘s violin voice. They build wonderful harmony together. Her voice is rather low tuned and complete duduk perfectly.
This is a mind refreshing session and following findings that he is recording under his own name since 13 years and over twenty appearing as contributing artist left me happy as there is no biggest pleasure to me than such a discovery. Only sad note is that he really deserves to be known better He simply posses an amazing technique and musical skills putting him among the biggest names on today jazz firmament.
These are all written scores. As far as I can say there is no place for improvising left , but the way they are played leaves you no wish for. Close understanding of each other, blend of skills and capacity of abilities makes a wonder. I simply love this recording and I am going to listen to it over and over. Neither to mention that I need to have lessons done and put my hands on Thierry’s earlier recordings.