Martial Solal, Johnny Griffin - In and Out (APE+CUE)
Please keep seeding as long as you can.
The duo album In & Out should inspire renewed wonder that there hasn't been more of a fuss - at least, not in the U.S. - about the Algerian-born, Paris-based pianist Martial Solal. The album pairs the 72-year-old Solal with his contemporary and fellow repatriated Frenchman, the diminutive tenor saxist Johnny Griffin, whose colossal technique remains unabated from his days on the hard-bop front lines (even as his sensibilities have mellowed). But Griffin's is a common name in American jazz households; Solal's is not, despite that fact that he has sculpted one of the few unique, 20th-century piano personae, unimitative and unimitated. Solal's ambidexterity rivals that of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson, but he uses it in a far more understated way, having pared away the flourishes of those forebears.
Solal's clear-eyed, sometimes stark poetry recalls the language of his countryman Albert Camus, but his philosophy does not; in his music, Solal achieves an unsentimentalized beauty that helps salve the existential angst Camus depicted. On his own, Griffin will coast when he can, but throughout this relatively short disc (47 minutes), Solal challenges him with inventive miniature orchestrations, and Griffin responds with some of his best work in years. For example, on the tour-de-force "Neutralisme," they trade phrases with the telepathic empathy that has characterized great jazz partnerships from Armstrong & Hines through Shorter & Zawinul.
Personnel: Martial Solal (piano); Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone).
01 You Stepped Out of a Dream
02 Come With Me
03 In and Out
04 Hey Now
05 L'Oreille est Hardie
06 When You're in My Arms
08 Well, You Needn't