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A killer performance from a great pianist

Hey, Jazz Piano School:  Today I'd like to just quickly highlight a great pianist who unfortunately passed away a few years back but whose brilliant playing really left a mark on me.  Michel Petrucciani was a unique pianist;  he was born with a condition called "Glass Bones", which resulted in him being considerably smaller than most people and somewhat fragile.  I remember reading a great interview with him back in the '80s or early '90s where he said that what he really wanted to be was a great athlete, but by about age 6 he was "still crawling around on his ass" while everybody else was out playing.  Fortunately for music, and for humanity, the three things that weren't touched by his syndrome were his head, his hands, and his heart.  So he took to the piano and...well, you can hear the results for yourself.  His lines have a great quality to them where, just when you would think he's out of arc and it's going to come back to earth, he finds another level and it's that much more thrilling.  Reminds me somewhat of a singer like Chaka Khan, where you assume she's in 6th gear already, then she hits something still higher and more intense, and you think that's gotta be it, and then she uncorks 8th gear.

Enjoy this performance;  the whole concert is incredible, with the great Anthony Jackson, "not your father's Oldsmobile" on bass, and Steve Gadd playing, as always, so musically on drums.  Michel actually lets Gadd play the last head on drums, and I swear you can hear every note!  I have it set to boot up to a beautiful, spacious version of Miles Davis's "So What', and Michel evokes so much of what we talk about in our lessons here:  playing VERY sparsely but with impeccable time and phrasing through most of the solo, and listening to himself and what he just played so beautifully to build the next phrase or section or chorus.  Enjoy!

 

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