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Into the Blue by Emmanuel Pahud & Jacky Terrasson

Jacky Terrasson’s recording career seems to have split into 2 phases ever since he came to the attention of the jazz listening public with his landmark eponymous CD, Jacky Terrasson, in 1994. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Emmanuel Pahud concomitantly was building his own reputation as a virtuoso in a different genre, that of classical music, on EMI Classics. Eventually, the two musicians found common ground in the improvisational natures of jazz and French Impressionism. As the members of Terrasson’s famous trio went their own ways (Leon Parker ironically to France as well, even though born in New York State), Terrasson revived his interest in the French music he heard as a youth, resulting in his recording of French songs, A Paris.... His trips to France early in the millennium had the fortunate discovery of a perfect recording environment in the south of France where the musicians could relax in the countryside, the relaxation there being conducive to their concentration and creativity. That same area near Pompignan is where Terrasson and Pahud recorded Into the Blue in 2001.

While it may seem that Terrasson and Pahud required much rehearsal time to achieve the synthesis they sought, such was not entirely the case since Terrasson had studied classical piano for 13 years before being captivated by the freer spirit of jazz. The combination of Terrasson’s arrangements with Pahud’s flair makes clear the irrelevance of separating music into rigid categories as Ravel’s "Boléro" adopts a melody from "La Bamba" and the vamp from "Cumba’s Dance" (from Jacky Terrasson and Alive), the flute’s upper-register accents lightening the piano trio’s propulsiveness. Or Ravel’s "Pavane," a statement of consummate sadness and remembrance, glides into unconventional modulations and references, like "Poinciana," even as it is broken into discrete segments. "Volière" virtually shimmers with underlying restlessness while Pahud plays the first section, until Terrasson’s trio breaks out into brief overt swing.

As for astounding technical ability, Pahud’s and Terrasson’s unison treatment of Paganini’s "Moto Perpetuo," only a minute and a half long in between fade-in and fade-out, makes the exceedingly difficult seem easy, as does Pahud’s fluttering and even shorter "Vol du Bourdon" ("Flight of the Bumblebee"). Equally to-the-point are the 4 less-than-two-minutes-long Vivaldi compositions, allowing the group to makes its statement, such as the Latin treatment of "Été" and move on to the next interpretation.

Appropriately, the group ends Into the Blue with Claude Bolling’s "Véloce," from his and Jean-Pierre Rampal’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, which, among other Bolling/Rampal recordings, served as the inspiration for the Terrasson/Pahud work on Into the Blue.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Emmanuel Pahud & Jacky Terrasson
  • CD Title: Into the Blue
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Blue Note
  • Tracks: Volière, Pavane, Boléro, Après un rêve, Printemps, Été, Automne, Hiver, Jimbo’s Lullaby, Marche á la turque, Pays lointain, Moto perpetuo, Vol du bourdon, Véloce
  • Musicians: Emmanuel Pahud (flute); Jacky Terrasson (piano)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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