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Evanescence by Claude Terranova

Evanescence is Claude Terranova’s first live, solo recording. Unfortunately after doing many searches on the internet for Claude I could find little else available then this CD and therefore wonder whether this is not only his first but perhaps his only CD available. In addition, it seems difficult to purchase this CD as the major music supply stores do not carry anything by Claude Terranova. He does have a reasonably well put together internet site; however, it is in French.

This disk is a combination of Claude’s own compositions and several well know Jazz standards. The disk is largely Traditional/straight-ahead Jazz. Let me begin with "A Night in Tunisia." This is a Dizzy Gillespie composition and could likely also be considered Dizzy’s signature tune. It is a favorite of mine and my history of both listening to and playing Dizzy Music is considerable. Claude’s version of this tune made me smile - it is artful, creative and respectful of the original composition. His improvisations are poignant and his use of intervals in the melody, dissonance in accent beats and modified scale runs interwoven in the basic structure of the tune all point towards an interesting rendition. His respect for the original composition is clearly demonstrated via his periodic return to the basic theme/melody of the tune and also that his improvisations do not wander too far from the basic harmonic structure of the original composition. The tune was one of the early Be-Bop tunes and Claude keeps it’s Be-Bop

As for Claude’s original compositions: I think it is a bit tricky when musicians combine there own Jazz compositions with great Jazz standards in one performance or on one CD. It is clearly fair to say that Claude’s title track "Evanescence" does not hold up well compared to other cuts on the CD by Gillespie, Gershwin and Miles Davis. That is not to say that Claude’s compositions are not artful and interesting, they are. Several of them were apparently composed on the spot (according to information on the disk) and therefore they seem to be more like known/rehearsed riffs, runs and improvisations set against a backdrop of interesting chord changes. My Favorite is "Agua do Brasil." While its name seems to indicate a Latin influence this is hard to find yet the tune does have some interesting harmonic structures all neatly woven into the basic theme of the tune. Overall though I found Claude’s compositions a little "flat" meaning that they were not particularly melodically dynamic and did not have some special theme that could set them apart from the ordinary.

The production of this CD is excellent - the quality of the Piano sound is superb and it seems that only the best equipment and engineers crafted the actual recording. The single funny thing I noticed is that for a live recording it is almost too perfect - no background noises anywhere, no inconsistencies in tonal reactions to perhaps a live setting - i.e. tones across the spectrum all seemed to behave similarly. Even more strange is that the applause at the end of live tunes is strikingly similar. In fact I cut two of them and placed them in a wave editor and they looked and sounded almost identical. I guess the random universe some times randomly comes up consistent.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Claude Terranova
  • CD Title: Evanescence
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Private
  • Rating: Three Stars
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