Jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson shows a free-style stride to his playing with his latest album Mirror, which has him taking the piano keys into forms you could never imagine. Throughout the album, you are literally experiencing how he takes what is going through his mind and converts it into a musical prose without showing any premeditation in the phrasing. Terrasson’s movements acquire a trance-like state as if he becomes the music notes. You sense that he is not in control but the music is. The notes tell him where they want to go and his mind communicates with them, and he listens to them with eager attentiveness. It is quite an experience for the audience.
Terrasson’s rendition of Carol King’s song "You’ve Got A Friend" shows amazing spontaneity in the emotive responses when Terrasson applies his method of playing to the American pop classic. He plays the tune as if he is writing it as he goes along. Every preceding note tells him where to take the proceeding notes, as if he is not even following the path of the sheet music, but just relying on the vibe of the notes to guide him. Terrasson is a musician who shows an intuition for listening to the vibe of the music, similarly to the way horse whisperers can hear what horses are saying to them. Terrasson’s abilities are quite tell-tale as well. You can detect this from the moment he starts playing. He does not create melodies, but chord progressions that form a musical tapestry of their own making. Sometimes the progressions exhibit a bone-chilling intensity or a commemorative setting depicting a special time in one’s life, and other times the progressions have a dream-like sequence like they are going into the Emerald City from the movie The Wizard of Oz. No matter where the progressions go, it is always unpredictable. You never know when Terrasson’s keys will experience a bout of feeling very talkative or subdued and reposing.
My guess is that Jacky Terrasson does not even know where the notes will take him once he commences a piece. He leads his audience to think this way before they come to one of his shows when he inferred as much in a recent press release, "I love doing solo concerts and I’m excited and curious to hear how this music will evolve on the road."
Some compositions on Mirror which might be familiar to jazz enthusiasts are "Caravan" (Ellington - Mills - Tizol), "Just A Gigolo" (Brammer - Cassar - Casucci), "You’ve Got A Friend" (Carol King), "American The Beautiful" (S.A. Ward - K. Bates), Cherokee (Ray Noble), and "Everything Happens To Me (T.M. Adair - M. Dennis). Terrasson’s renditions will go off in natural tangents but somehow they always find their way back home like in "America The Beautiful." Jacky Terrasson’s compositions are made from within, but not necessarily from within himself, more like from within the piano keys as he communicates with them through his mind and they tell him where they would like to be taken, and Terrasson’s role is to be their conduit.
Mirror is certainly a unique experience and one that offers audiences inspiration to apply Terrasson’s ideology to several factors that come into their lives. It certainly would prevent people from disassociating themselves from the natural flow of events that must transpire through the course of a day. Terrasson does not force the music to happen; the music does it on its own. All he has to do is know how to listener to the keys to tell him where they want to go.