1. Gaux Girl
2. Beat It/Body and Soul
3. Ruby My Dear
4. Beat Bop
5. 'Round Midnight
7. My Church
8. Say Yeah
9. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
10. Carry Me Away
11. O Café, O Soleil
Jacky Terrasson - Piano, keyboards, vocals
Ben Williams - Bass
Jamire Williams - Drums
Gregoire Maret - Harmonica (tracks 3, 8)
Jacques Schwarz-Bart - Tenor sax (track 6)
Matthew Stevens - Guitar (tracks 8, 10)
Cyro Baptista - Percussion (tracks 8, 10, 11)
It took me a while to get used to the fact that pianist Jacky Terrasson was not a woman, as the name "Jacky" sounds female to me. Having got over that aberration, I realised that he is a man and - as the press handout describes him: "Berlin-born, Paris-raised, New York-based".
After a long spell with Blue Note records, this is Terrasson's first album for the Concord label, and he intends the title "Push" to signify a new leap forward. Seven of the tunes were written by Jacky himself, including the opening Gaux Girl, dedicated to his daughter Margaux. It is a buoyant, funky outing for his trio and embraces electronic keyboards as well as the acoustic piano, which at times is reminiscent of Keith Jarrett in his reflective mood.
The next track does the seeming impossible: blending the classic Body and Soul with Michael Jackson's Beat It. The former's tranquil certainty seems unsuited to the outspoken pushiness of the Michael Jackson song, but Terrasson avoids confrontation by starting with floating melodies which seem to relate to neither song very closely. Gradually you can pick out Body and Soul, although it is disguised underneath a welter of increasingly assertive music, proving that the two tunes don't really mix.
Ruby My Dear opens with a riff which suggests Herbie Hancock rather than the composer Thelonious Monk, whose melody gradually sees the light of day with help from Gregoire Maret's keening harmonica. Terrasson (who is often compared to Thelonious) here takes Monk's piece with plenty of softening legato.
Beat Bop is a total contrast, with electronic keyboards thrashing out a very fast theme, followed by quicksilver piano improvisation. 'Round Midnight is an impressive display of Jacky's technique and his ability to switch from one mood to another. Jacques Schwarz-Bart's tenor sax adds a new voice to the mix, with a very Coltrane-like tone.
My Church proves that Terrasson can play soft or loud - which you'd expect from an exponent of the pianoforte (which is Italian for "soft-loud"). This calm melody conveys Jacky's comfort at being in church, and bassist Ben Williams plays a thoughtful solo. A gospel influence in evident in Say Yeah, where Jacky dares to sing (and whistle) as well as play, although his subdued vocals take second place to his flourishing piano playing, which for part of the tune is shadowed by the guitar of Matthew Stevens.
Jacky demonstrates his edgy Monk-related style in You'd Be So
Nice to Come Home To , starting by playing the tune recognisably
but then taking it in all kinds of surprising directions, with witty
allusions to other songs. Carry Me Away returns to the tranquil
atmosphere of My Church. The closing item - O Café,
O Soleil - again has some Terrasson vocals - or, at least, humming
- against an infectious Latin beat, although the underlying riff becomes
tiresomely repetitive. All in all, this album is a fine example of
Jacky's technical ability and willingness to explore all kinds of
styles. Apart from a few misjudgements, it succeeds in being stimulating
as well as listenable.