Martial Solal: Most Laughs Per Set

When things get really right on the bandstand, an artist’s invention can make you shake you head in wonder: “how did he/she think of that?” And when the music is also marked by whimsy, those head-shakes can turn to chuckles. Last night at the Village Vanguard, pianist Martial Solal made me chuckle out loud seven times – that’s a damn good laughs-per-set ratio. He did so by allusion, placing snippets of other melodies into the tune he and bassist Francois Moutin were messing with. “I Got Rhythm” made room for a moment of “Caravan ” a two-note inflection in “I Can’t Get Started With You” summoned “Criss Cross,” etc. He did so by rhythmic upending. Call the octogenarian a one-man Naked City and get him a Tzadik contract: a joyous phrase would be sharply followed ponderous episode that was hooked to a giddy retort. From salon to whore house he moved through lots of turfs. His light touch and antsy demeanor conjured a confluence of John Lewis, Misha Mengelberg, and Count Basie. Dexterity and delivery were in the forefront, pure imagination was driving the action, and the chuckles just kept coming. He didn’t play “Anything Goes,” but indeed anything went. If you could use a laugh, it’s recommended that  you stop in before the last set on Sunday night.

Ethan Iverson critiques Solal’s Monk commentary. 

Larry Appelbaum interviews Solal (“Swing is a technique”).

Steve Futterman on Solal.

K. Leander Williams on Solal.

Ted Panken runs Solal through a live Blindfold Test.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s