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Into the Blue (2003)

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Jacky Terrasson

Emmanuel Pahud is an award-winning classical flutist who's also Principal Flute for the Berlin Philharmonic. Jacky Terrasson is an award-winning jazz pianist who's a Principal Original on the scene; uniquely playful and inventive, it's always interesting to see what he comes up with next. This time he rearranges 14 classical melodies in a jazz context. More than half are short tracks, colorful samples from jazz's favorite French Impressionists (Ravel, Faure, and Debussy)to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" (all four) and pieces by Schumann, Mozart, Paganini, Rimsky-Korsakov "Flight of the Bumblebee," Saint-Saëns, and jazz pianist Claude Bolling, who in the 70s teamed up with legendary flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal to record their own crossover tracks. Although he also respects the basic character of the music, Terrasson is more adventurous. For example, the much-beloved "Pavane" (Ravel) is still serene, but with interludes of communal passion and trio jazz, as fine bassist Sean Smith and drummer Ali Jackson provide subtle, quickly reactive support. "Bolero" is an exciting journey which obliterates all memory of the plodding and repetitious original; it features a happy Latin groove that dances under the melody, then segues seamlessly into funk and Fender Rhodes. If Pahud's improvisations are rather basic, his tone is beautiful and he swings, as does the bass/drum section, after which the whole thing goes Jamaican -- before returning to Latin. It sounds like a mishmosh in print, but it works. So does the beautiful "Apres un Reve," which conjures the countryside of southern France where the CD was recorded, and "Jimbo's Lullaby," which originally described a lumbering elephant, but is meditative and nearly Oriental here. On "Marche Turque," Mozart meets reggae and humor. In fact, there's wit throughout this CD, as well as imagination and top-level playing. Both classical and jazz fans will find much to enjoy.