Mirror does not appear to be designed for that purpose; it makes no compromises to mass appeal. On the contrary, he has chosen a format--solo piano--that many performers, including Terrasson himself, find intimidating. "I kept postponing working on a solo CD because I wasn't ready to take it on," he reports. "Recording solo in a studio is one of the hardest things I've done in my career. You're in a room with no audience. It's just you and the piano and the microphones. You have to do everything--provide the vibe, the tempos, the flow, the colors. You can't help but get a little self-conscious. But when I felt ready, I thought, let's just go."
He was ready. His classical training has left him with a flawless technique that he is able to shape with his jazz sensibilities. And there is no doubt about the breadth of his imagination. He is by turn exotic ("Caravan"), romantic ("Juvenile"), and Monkish ("Just a Gigolo"). His treatment of Carol King's classic "You've Got a Friend" is reminiscent of some of Lynne Arriale's forays into the pop song, and just as effective. He tackles the ("Tragic Mulato") blues, de-constructs "America the Beautiful" and juxtaposes a rapid-fire "Cherokee" with a tender "Everything Happens To Me." The title tune is a technical tour de force with boppish right-hand lines over a powerful left-hand ostinato, and the set finishes with an impressionistic little waltz that segues mysteriously into "Happy Birthday."
It is a powerful statement, with Terrasson demonstrating the technical mastery for which he is noted, but placing it at the service of a mature, or certainly maturing, artistic vision. And he does it in the highly demanding solo piano format, producing a set that belongs with the best of the Maybeck Recital Hall series. This is a recording for the connoisseur of jazz piano to savor. Whether it is accessible enough to help Jackie Terrasson catch on more generally in the US remains to be seen. It certainly won't do him any harm.