• Martial Solal at MoMA

    June 16, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Saturday night a big event took place as pianist Martial Solal and bassist Francois Mouton from France drew perhaps 200 people (guess-timate) to the Museum of Modern Art, despite a monsoon-like rainstorm. Solal's repertoire is what student pianists had to learn in the 1970s. Examples from Saturday night are Cherokee, I Remember April, Round Midnight, Tea for Two, Body & Soul, Have You Met Miss Jones, Caravan, All the Things You Are, Ellington medley. What he does with them is his own! And Modern as in MoMA, I would say. His appearance at the Modern was part of its jazz film series, because he wrote the score to Godard's Breathless. But it would be fascinating to explore Solal's music in relation to the Modern collection, because he breaks up the melodies like 20th century painters fractured the natural visual order. If anyone knows more about this, please comment! His hands look totally relaxed, and seem to do exactly what's required, nothing extra. That can be fast fingers or a hand-fling or a pull-off, or two-handed glissandos going straight out from the center of the keys. Solal's mind must be as relaxed as his hands. Au contraire, Moutin dances with his bass, jerks, jumps, the two men are a contrast, decades apart in age but a great duo and appreciating each other a lot. Though Solal told us "I'll get tired before you do," eventually he closed the concert. Before it had begun, a drenched David Cruz -- spotted in the audience -- commented that it may be awhile before Solal (born in 1927 in Algiers, settled in Paris in 1950) is back. He has a new CD, though, and I hope lots of people will find their way to it.

    He has a new CD -- Longitude -- with notes by the Rutgers Inst of Jazz Studies' (and WBGO's) Dan Morgenstern, who writes , "There are few greater pleasures in a jazz lover's life than listening to the music of Martial Solal. At 80, Solal seems to find as much joy in the creation of his unique artistry and transmit just as much of a sense of discovery to the listener as ever in his long and brilliant career."

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