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European Jazz Piano
June 2, 2008 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Europe has produced its share of outstanding jazz pianists. Here are five of them: Martial Solal (French/Algerian-born, born 1927); Tete Montoliu (Catalonian/Spanish, 1933-97); Enrico Pieranunzi (Italian, born 1949); Misha Mengelberg (Dutch/Ukrainian-born, born 1935); Marco di Marco (Italian, born 1940).

More by and about Solal here and here and here (wiki). Of his numerous recordings, I would recommend: the Vogue recordings, at Newport (1963), Happy Reunion (w/Stephane Grappelli), and NY1.

More by and about Montoliu (who was blind, incidentally) here and here and here (wiki) Montoliu's discography is large but to start, I would recommend especially: Songs for Love (solo, out of print but secondhand copies not hard to find), The Music I Like to Play (solo, volumes 1&2), Catalonian Nights (trio, live, volumes 1&2), Body & Soul (trio,live).

More by and about Pieranunzi here (wiki) and here and here.

More by and about Mengelberg here and here (wiki). Among his recordings (which you can find listed here), two trio records--No Idea and Who's Bridge--stand out, as do the ICP Orchestra recordings.

More by and about di Marco here and here and here.

posted by ornate insect (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great stuff! If we're talkin' European jazz pianists, though, I have to put in a plug for Bobo Stenson (check out his recordings with the great Tomasz Stanko as well as his own trio).
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on June 2, 2008


Some more on Solal here and here.

Also a quick mention should be made of Danish (and half Vietnamese) pianist Niels Lan Doky and Italian pianist Giorgio Gaslini (Gaslini's work in particular deserves to be better known).

Also, several pianists have left Europe to settle in the States, among them: Jacky Terrason (originally from France), Laszlo Gardony (originally from Hungary), and Sylvie Courvoisier (originally from Switzerland, and like her fellow Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer, her music is more avant-garde than recognizably "jazz" per se).
posted by ornate insect at 11:29 AM on June 2, 2008


Crazy that I neglected to mention the late-great and justly celebrated Michel Petrucciani (wiki). Born with a genetic disease that gave him short stature and forced him to use crutches, Petrucciani recorded and performed with many of modern jazz's greats. Here he is w/Jim Hall playing My Funny Valentine.

And, a mention should definitely be made of another French jazz pianist, the great Georges Arvanitas.
posted by ornate insect at 11:44 AM on June 2, 2008


I used to be a waiter at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, and one day the towering (in every sense of the word) tenor man Charles Lloyd walked in for lunch, carrying Michel Petrucciani in his arms like a baby. It was a beautiful thing.

On emusic, I recently discovered a fascinating German pianist I'd never heard of before, Niko Meinhold. The album I downloaded is called Koko, and it's a duet with a Japanese vibes and marimba player named Taiko Saito. It's really lovely stuff -- very reflective, "out" but exceptionally melodic, with Meinhold using some kind of extended-piano techniques a la prepared piano. If you love the Chick Corea/Gary Burton records, look for it.
posted by digaman at 12:36 PM on June 2, 2008


Tete is so great... thanks. Worth a glance is also Chano Dominguez (Spanish), whose piano style is rooted in flamenco (but in jazz too)..
Joachim Kuhn (used to be German), Baptiste trotignon (French) , Eric lenigni (French from Italian ancestry), Misha Alperin (Ukrainian), Keith Jarrett (when he was European), Stefano Bollani (Italian), Bobo Stenson, Tord Gustavsen (Norway), Antoine Hervé (French) (Jazz + Mozart = ?), Stefan Orins (French), Mario Laginha with Maria Joao (Portuguese), Bojan Zulficarpasic (Former Yugoslavia), Esbjörn Svensson (Sweden), and many, many others.
posted by nicolin at 1:23 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


And I didn't want to forget Alain Jean Marie, a beautiful pianist from Guadeloupe (French). He can be heard here, but he's a beautiful Ballads player too. Hmmm... This is very interesting and offer some glimpses of his beautiful music.
Worth checking (as far as european pianists are the concern) : piano bleu.
posted by nicolin at 1:47 AM on June 3, 2008


I forgot once again : check Daniel Goyone's work (France).
posted by nicolin at 3:01 AM on June 3, 2008


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