Jacky Terrasson, "53" (Blue Note)
Jazz tunes are like baseball games — few fans complain about them being too short. But on Jacky Terrasson's album "53" (yes, the one-time twentysomething sensation is now 53), he wisely leaves listeners wanting more.
Not that the package is skimpy. Terrasson serves up a generous 56 minutes of terrific piano trio music via 16 compositions, most less than four minutes in length. There's no flab, no showboat soloing and lots of lovely ensemble work as Terrasson and his colleagues explore various moods and melodies.
Terrasson uses three different rhythm sections, and an alternating use of acoustic and electric bass broadens the palette. In addition, on a couple of cuts Terrasson explores the piano's lower register in a way that makes it seem like a fourth performer.
Rather than flashy chops, however, the focus is on the tunes, all but one written by Terrasson, and they're hummable and memorable. "Alma" has a lullaby lilt geared for the white tablecloth crowd, while the piano pounder "This Is Mine" sounds like a rock opera theme in search of arena laser lights. "My Lys" rides on a catchy Latin groove, while the droll "Blues en femmes majeures" could provide the soundtrack for a "Peanuts" episode of Snoopy after dark.
And then there is Terrasson's unique interpretation of the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem. Every note counts, and at 84 seconds, the album's shortest performance becomes the most moving.