Jacky Terrasson’s solo concert last night at the Oriental was great! This was quite an enjoyable show, as he used the setting to his advantage, taking liberties constantly with tempo, rhythmic feel, and form. He went everywhere musically, sometimes even whacking the inside of the piano like a percussion instrument. The place was not sold out, but we think a few more people came because of our blog post the day before (we’re sure of at least a couple). However, the turnout was pretty good, at about two-thirds full.
He had us all enthralled from the start, starting with a beautiful, quiet simple song that showcased his sensitive touch and exquisite phrasing. Then directly afterwards he broke into a thunderous low-register intro to Caravan, which he played in 7/4. After that he played some tunes we recognized and others we did not — the other ones we remember from the first set included “My Funny Valentine”, “When you’re Smiling”, and “Autumn Leaves”.
The second set started out with a slow blues, then went into some more tunes we didn’t know. One song we definitely did recognize (as did someone else in the back, judging from the sounds they were making) was Ravel’s “Bolero”. He played quite a funky version, really exploring some different avenues with it. If we remember correctly, he played that in 7 as well. Towards the end of the tune, he segued into “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and then recapped the Bolero theme over the paper moon changes to finish it.
He came back for two encores, for the first one playing a quieter tune and then a quick version of Cherokee. The second encore was a heart-wrenching version of the Bacharach tune “You’ve Got a Friend.”
As great of a player as he is, we would really like to hear him in a group setting. Solo piano is just too limiting for anyone, as a solo pianist has to play the bass part as well as chords if the music is to sound full. Also there’s plenty of aspects of his playing that it’s not really possible to hear in a solo context, like how he would comp for other instruments, or solo etc. So Jacky, if you’re still in town tonight come down to JZ and you can sit in! Please. 😉
The embedded video is not from Shanghai, but features Jacky on piano.