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J-M Pilc's Power Trio?

Jean-Michel Pilc is a French piano player (let’s say post-bop, or hard bop with occasional avant-garde overtones) whose touring travels brought him to Chicago’s Green Mill (one of the oldest if not THE oldest jazz clubs in town) with a talented trio consisting of bassist Toma Bramerie and drummer Ari Hoenig, and we in Chicagoland (what "we" call the greater Chicago area) were all the better for it. Anyone expecting an evening of refined Gallic excursions was likely disappointed Pilc is a way-percussive pianist, "heavy"-handed without being leaden, like Dave Brubeck with a strong jolt of Don Pullen (plus the added wit of T. Monk Sr. and Chico Marx). He played a lot in the keyboard’s middle resister, keeping the high-note runs to a (merciful) minimum (so many jazz pianists do that low-to-rapid-high-register thing to death, you see), remembering to maintain a tune’s melodic kernel throughout. Bass man Bramerie did not get or take a lot of solo space he was the rock, the sturdy anchor, more felt than heard, and drum whiz kid Hoenig shone like a star, threatening to steal the spotlight away from the boss. This fellow threw himself into his kit, he was a basher - not like a rock drummer, but more like a more-basic Blakey full of volatile crashes and enthusiastic stick-work, so much so that the occasional drumstick would fly from his mitts. But don’t get the idea that he has no finesse his brush-work was hot ‘n’ driving, steadily sizzling like eggs in a skillet on Sunday morning. Subtlety was not exactly up high on the menu in some ways, this group was nearly a jazz counterpart to a rock "power trio" (guitar/bass/drums - Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience/Band of Gypsies being to the most famous examples) Pilc’s trio exchanged subtleness for earnest, blustering swing and turbulent whomp on his own compositions and the standard "Afro-Blue." Oh yeah, and the place was packed, too the crowd belonged to Pilc’s trio. Listen up, piano trio fans they’re worth catching, you dig?

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jean-Michel Pilc
  • Concert Date: 10/4/2003
  • Subtitle: Jean-Michel Pilc Trio
  • Venue: Green Mill
  • City State Country: Chicago, IL
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