The Jazz Organ
I haven’t written a lot about the organ in Jazz yet. This is because I don’t very often listen to it.
I mean, there are some legendary album’s like Jimmy Smith’s The Cat, which I love, but in total I have less than 15 jazz organ albums in my library (which contains 7-8,000 albums).
However, why haven’t I written about Michel Petrucciani yet? This French genius on the piano?
He was born with a rare genetic disease which lead to very brittle bones and a very short body height. But when you see him on the piano, you can be nothing but amazed:
I guess the reason why I didn’t write about him yet is because some of his later albums went into a certain style I didn’t necessarily like that much.
But there is one album I’ve treasured for two decades now, that combines a Jazz organ and Michel Petrucciani, and guess what, nothing else!
Conférence de Presse (Dreyfus 1994)
This album was recorded at the Petit Journal Montparnasse, a Paris Jazz club I used to go to when I lived in Paris years ago. But unfortunately I wasn’t at this particular concert, which is very much of a pity.
But let me introduce the second musician first: Eddy Louis. He’s a French pianist, but better known for his organ. He played with Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and any other Jazz greats.
I’m pretty sure you don’t have many duo albums of an organ and piano in your collection. So why should you have this one?
Very simply, because it swings like hell.
You already get an idea from the Youtube clip above about what Petrucciani can do with a classic like Caravan. Now add an organ to that, and you get a performance you won’t forget that quickly.
And there’s another true gem on this album when it comes to standards: Summertime. Obviously, nothing beats the legendary performance of Ella & Louis, but this really is an extremely entertaining version.
Check it out!
My rating: 4 stars
Unfortunately, the album is not that easy to find individually.
Qobuz has it as part of a 5 CD box: http://www.qobuz.com/gb-en/album/conference-de-presse-both-world-solo-flamingo-trio-in-tokyo-michel-petrucciani/3460503694026
And you find it on Amazon, often used: https://www.amazon.com/Conférence-Presse-Michel-Petrucciani/dp/B004A3INP2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477118700&sr=8-1&keywords=petrucciani+conference+de+presse