LIVE IN BERLIN '61 | LIVE IN ESSEN
Thelonious Monk and Martial Solal. At a first glance these two men have very little in common. One of them seems to interrupt the swinging flow with bulky crossbars, allegedly an awkward bull in the china shop of jazz, bouncy and stumbling, a pianistic roughneck.
Already his hand position prompts piano teachers to throw their hands up in horror: with the fingers stretched out flat and parallel, it seems as if two fly flaps were maltreating the keyboard.
Before an aesthete even gets a chance to come to terms with this sight Monk's lower arm crashes down on the ivory with a tremendous cluster.
The other man is an embodiment of the filigree. In the ears of his admirers his amazing virtuosity lets him catch up with the Piano-Olympus of a Tatum or Oscar Peterson, which is actually considered unreachable.
A certain "Gallic humour" is attributed to Solal, a playful elegance, which is not lost in very suddenly interspersed harmonic turns.
An orchestral density and an almost continual flow of bubbling ideas force the breathlessly following listener to occasionally gasp for air.