CD Blue Sand (CD 1040854),
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Blue Sand

  • 1. Window, The
    2. Mountain of the Night
    3. Test
    4. Blue Sand
    5. Korail
    6. Ida Lupino
    7. Rwanda
    8. I Am Leaving
    9. Bach to Steve
    10. Shark Waltz
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 302

  • Credits

    Achille Gajo Trio: Achille Gajo (piano); Jean-Jacques Avenel (double bass, kora); John Betsch (drums).
    Includes liner notes by Jessica Shih.
    Personnel: Achille Gajo (piano); Jean-Jacques Avenel (kora, double bass); John Betsch (drums).
    When American jazz enthusiasts visit cities like Vienna, Stockholm, Munich, and Amsterdam, they learn that Western Europe really does have a dedicated jazz audience. No, Jackie McLean isn't outselling Britney Spears in that part of the world, but the Europeans who do spend money on jazz in those cities are a highly enthusiastic, dedicated bunch. And American travelers also learn that the jazz scenes in the larger cities of Western Europe can be highly competitive; you need to know your stuff if you hope to earn a living playing jazz in Milan or Paris. Blue Sand, in fact, is an enjoyable indication of the sort of jazz talent that one can expect to find in the City of Lights. This 2003 date finds Italian pianist Achille Gajo (who has lived in Paris since 1996) forming a trio with two Steve Lacy sidemen: bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer John Betsch (who moved to Paris in 1985). But Blue Sand doesn't sound like a Lacy album -- there's no sax, and Gajo's compositions don't resemble Lacy compositions. Rather, this is an album of post-bop piano jazz, and Gajo favors the sort of cleaning-sounding pianism one associates with Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Ahmad Jamal, and Michel Petrucciani. Gajo is a poetic, introspective sort of player -- an approach that serves him well on eight original pieces and interpretations of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Mountain of the Night," and Carla Bley's "Ida Lupino" (which was named after an excellent, if somewhat underrated, actress of the '40s and '50s). One of the most interesting tracks is "Korain," which finds Avenel stretching out on the kora (a traditional African string instrument). Blue Sand falls short of exceptional, but it's a solid, worthwhile effort for Gajo and his fellow Paris residents. ~ Alex Henderson

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