Martial Solal: Cherokee




Martial Solal (piano)


Suite for Trio (UMVD)

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Martial Solal (piano), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Daniel Humair (drums).

Composed by Ray Noble


Recorded: Villingen, Germany, February 27-28, 1978


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This truly is a reunion of European virtuosos. Solal, the French pianist, Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen, the late Danish bassist (with whom Solal had recorded a duet for the same German label two years before) and Daniel Humair, the Swiss drummer (who had been living in Paris for quite some time and by then was more or less Solal's regular drummer). Together they tackle the Ray Noble standard in a very "Solalian" way, which means that you'd better have the original melody and chord sequence well memorized if you want to recognize it. But even if you don't, you should have just as much fun if you like breakneck tempos, speedy turns and unannounced twists as much as these musicians do. NHØP opens with a swift 1-minute solo intro, then is joined by Humair for another minute before the leader joins in. Almost as soon as Solal has entered with a couple of fast arpeggios, the rhythm team leaves him on his own. He changes pace to a quiet ballad before switching again to a speedy tempo. Then his right hand introduces original melodic bits, a short quotation of "Take the 'A' Train" and even—believe it or not—a reworking of the Ray Noble melody that most listeners will have a hard time recognizing at this tempo and with these alterations. But if you never hear the original melody, don't be disappointed: Solal shies away from clichés (even his own) and never has more fun than when toying around with familiar chords or a timeless melody until he's made it totally his own. Here, obviously, he found two playmates totally attuned to his twist of mind.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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