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    Pianist/composer Jacky Terrasson makes his Impulse! label debut with Take This, a sparkling new disc that captures the quintessence of his multifaceted musical makeup, which often draws upon modern post-bop, pop, hip-hop, European classical, and African and Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies.

    Being the product of a French father and an American mother, 48-year-old Terrasson has made a distinguished, two-decade plus career at threading musical links between various cultures and nationalities. On Take This, he retains American bassist Burniss Travis (Ambrose Akinmusire, Robert Glasper, Q-Tip, Mos Def, Marc Cary), who played on the previous disc, Gouache (Universal Jazz France, 2012) while recruiting new members – Cuban-born drummer Lukmil Perez (Tito Puente, Giovanni Mirabassi), Malian percussionist Adama Diarra (Dee Dee Bridgewater, Salif Keita, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Toumani Diabaté) and vocalist and Afro-French human beatbox virtuoso Sly Johnson (ex Saian Supa Crew, Camille, Eric Truffaz) – to form a hip cosmopolitan combo that represents jazz’s expansive global mindedness while still affirming its African-American roots.

    Take This boasts four magnificent originals starting off with the opening, “Kiff,” which features Terrasson pairing his jovial piano and keyboard melodies with Johnson’s lissome, wordless vocals, which recall the supple magic of Al Jarreau. Terrasson deftly infusing Afro-Cuban melodicism on the delightful “Dance,” which also provides the perfect vehicle for Diarra’s splendid percussion work alongside Johnson’s shadowy beatbox ingenuity. “November” bounces to vivacious yet sensitive Caribbean beat propelled by Perez and Travis as Terrasson unravels labyrinthine passages marked by cogent melodicism and spry rhythms. Terrasson reveals his balladry mastery on the sensual “Letting Go,” whose sparse melody and hypnotic feel recall Miles Davis’ bolero “Flamenco Sketches.”

    The disc also contains nine surprising covers that range from inventive takes on a handful of jazz standards – Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco,” Miles Davis and Bill Evans’ “Blue In Green” and Paul Desmond’s “Take Five”— a riveting piano-vocal duo rendition of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” an ebullient reading of Henri Salvador’s 1950 French-Caribbean hit, “Maladie D’Amour” and a jazz/hip-hop makeover of Gotye’s 2011 international pop hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

    Throughout the disc, Terrasson enlivens the music with sleek improvisations, rhythmic fluidity and an impeccable touch – all of which have become hallmarks to his singular sound. He also ignites a rapport with his band mates that favors memorable and importantly meaningful musical dialogue over callow pyrotechnics, making Take This another welcoming musical adventure in Terrasson’s oeuvre.


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