Jul 14, 2009
Today is Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorating the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens.
So I've dug through my music collection for French jazz musicians, and therefore, today we have....pianist Michel Petrucciani.
His is certainly one of the strangest and most inspirational stories of jazz musicians. Born with the disease osteogenensis imperfecta, a bone disease that greatly stunted his growth, he started by playing in the family trio with his father on guitar, brother on bass, and him on the piano. At the age of 15 he had the opportunity to play with expatriates Kenny "Kloop" Clarke and Clark Terry, and at 17 he made his first recording.
His best group recordings came with his involvement with Charles Lloyd (he may have brought Lloyd out of retirement single handedly) and a stunning live recording appropriately entitled The Power of Three in 1986 with guiatrist Jim Hall and saxophonist Wayne Shorter at Montreux. Click here to listen to Shorter's compostion "Limbo", that kicks off the album.
A little man with a big sound, he passed away of a
pulmonary infection on January 6, 1999.