By Matt Micucci
On January 15, 2016, three of his acclaimed records from the seventies will be rereleased on MPS records – Nothing But Piano, Four Keys and Suite for Trio.
French jazz pianist Martial Solal ranks at the top of the European jazz pantheon. Born in Algeria in 1927, trained as a classical pianist, he discovered jazz at the age of 12 and never looked back.
Noted for his virtuosity, unique stylistic approach, and the originality of his compositions, Solal stands as one of the giants of the instrument. Throughout his internationally acclaimed career, he has worked with numerous greats such as Django Reinhardt and Don Byas, and left his mark in the US after a much admired appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island in 1963, so much so that the performance was recreated in the studio for an acclaimed album entitled Newport ’63.
He won great admiration among non-jazz enthusiasts as composer of numerous film compositions. His own for Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave masterpiece Breathless (1960) has been credited for providing the whole revolutionary cinematic movement its distinctive jazzy sound.
Nothing but Piano is an incredible solo album, composed of one Solal original and nine classic standards, played in the way only he can. Although played in traditional jazz blues fashion, M.B.S. Blues features Solal’s inimitable approach – a mixture of off-the-wall spontaneity and tradition.
Four Keys pairs up Solal with three acknowledged jazz masters – alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, guitarist John Scofield and Niels-Henning Pederson.
Suite for Trio teams him up with jazz German bassist Niels-Henning Pederson and Swiss drummer Daniel Humair, in what music journalist Karl Lippegaus described as “a European dream trio”.