Martial Solal Trio


In his Encylopedia of Jazz in the Sixties Leonard Feather describes French pianist Martial Solal thusly: “A technically remarkable pianist with a highly personal manner of swinging.” In 1999’s The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, which Feather co-wrote with Ira Gitler, Solal’s entry gets this update: “Solal has perhaps been too chameleonic a player to have made a large impact on U.S. jazz audiences, but his originality and ability to swing are beyond question.” These chameleonic and swinging elements are very much present on this marvelous album, which Solal made last year with his musical partners for over a decade—twins François and Louis Moutin on bass and drums. At 80, Solal is nearly twice as old as they are yet plays with the enthusiasm and energy of four 20-year-olds. Seven of the 10 tunes are Solal originals and the composer’s sense of joy in his creations is palpable in every note. Annotator Dan Morgenstern comments on Solal’s “unpredictability” and his “shifts in tempo and rhythm” and it’s those characteristics that make Longitude the delightful experience it is. Solal’s treatments of “Tea for Two,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris” and “Here’s That Rainy Day” are as unique as he is.