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Thread: Let's Hear It For... MARTIAL SOLAL!

  1. #16
    Retired Member Homer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    This is a great biography:

    I agree with most of these dozen 'best of' tracks:

  2. #17
    Registered User HutchFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Marietta, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by jagor View Post
    I hate to be a nay-sayer, but I consider Martial Solal the epitome of the soul-less, cerebral, European-style "jazz" pianist. To me, it's all improvisation for the sake of showing off, it's all virtuosity without passion, technique for the sake of technique. No rhythm, no guts, no soul.

    I even bought a two-fer of a live, solo recital of Solal's, "Martial Solal improvise pour France Musique." I hated it so much after one playing that I gave it to a friend--a French friend. [You can hear clips on and judge for yourself.]

    The only thing I have of Martial Solal's that I consider worth listening to is, Key for Two, a two-piano vinyl recording of Solal with Hampton Hawes, an undeniably great pianist in my book and--I expect--in anyone else's. To the best of my knowledge it's only available in vinyl, but it's worth searching for. It seems that some of Hampton Hawes's soul rubbed off on Solal.

    Hmm. Well, I guess we all have different sets of ears. That's cool.

    I have the Improvise pour France Musique set, and I like it -- though I do like his trio and duo work best.

    I agree with Tom; I think "witty" is an excellent description of his playing. And extremely inventive. Solal definitely comes across to me as unique -- not "cerebral" (in the pejorative sense) or and certainly not soul-less, but definitely different. And that's one of the things that I like about him.

    I like Richie Beirach too -- and people sometimes accuse him of being excessive refined or "cerebral" but I don't hear that either.

    But, like I said, we all hear things differently!
    Explore my web site dedicated to Bobby Hutcherson:

  3. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Agreeing to Disagree about Solal

    For HutchFan, I'm glad that we agree to disagree about Martial Solal.

    But as for Beirach--now he's another one I can't stand! I got his Maybeck recital and liked it very much [it seems that nobody ever played badly at Maybeck]. Then I bought that thing he did about Antarctica because some reviewer had waxed rapturous about it and rated it ***** and I could hardly finish listening to it. It reminded me of a cat walking back and forth on the keyboard. If that's jazz, then I'm a monkey's uncle. Fortunately, I had only paid 5 euros for it in a cut-out bin and I was able to sell it for more than I paid for it.

    For V1P, I'm glad that we agree.

    For Tom K, I don't consider "blues clichés" to be a definition of good piano jazz, or any other jazz. See my nominees on the thread about "three favorite pianists." Each of my three was distinguished by a unique and instantly-recognizable style and none of them were noted for their "blues clichés."


  4. #19
    Registered User HutchFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Marietta, GA
    Bumping this thread because Ted Panken has just published a fascinating "blindfold test" and interview with Martial Solal on his blog at

    In the blindfold test, Solal bags on several pianists -- including Ellington (!), McCoy Tyner, and Ahmad Jamal. But I don't sense that he's doing it to be mean-spirited. He just doesn't mince words; if he doesn't like the recording, he's going to be straight-up about it.

    I think the interview is even more interesting. Here's my favorite quote:

    "In my music, I like a mixture of very modern and very traditional. I don’t like any art that forgets everything that happened before. Like when free jazz came, I was not against free jazz. I was against the idea of put everything away. Not Charlie Parker, not Louis Armstrong, this is zero. This I didn’t like. But I understood the movement. I understood it was necessary. But for me, the best way is to use everything which exists. I have been interested in contemporary music for years. I have played with different contemporary composers. But I don’t like people who refuse the past. I think the past is necessary for the future. That’s my idea."

    I can hear that idea -- the new and the old together in a new way -- in Solal's music.
    Explore my web site dedicated to Bobby Hutcherson:

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