Jean-Michel Pilc – Cardinal Points
(Dreyfus – 2003)
by Paula Edelstein
Pianist/composer Jean-Michel Pilc explores a multitude of musical forms, shapes, tones and stylistic settings on this exceptional release for Dreyfus Jazz titled Cardinal Points. Pilc wrote seven new songs and arranged the cover of Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” which all feature dramatic, tasteful and artistic performances that compel the listener to immerse their feelings deep within the artistic and scientific soul of the composer. Accompanied by both his working group Cardinal Points: Sam Newsome on soprano sax, James Genus on bass, Ari Hoenig on drums, and guest percussionist Abdou M’Boup on the first eight tracks, Pilc is inventive, rhythmically rich, and irresistible. He continues his astounding piano technique on the four- part “Trio Sonata” which features acoustic bassist Francois Moutin instead of Genus.
The work was created with generous support from Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation Program. After comparing Pilc’s current music to several of his previous offerings, Cardinal Points surpasses Pilc’s efforts on WELCOME HOME due to the inclusion of the substantive “Trio Sonata.” Pilc explained that the sonata form is one of the most powerful mediums of expression in the history of music and that “his ideas came in a quick and powerful flow of inspiration.” One listen and we’re sure you will agree. From the exuberance of “Fred’s Walk” to the climatic intensity of “Trio Sonata” Cardinal Points is an artistic triumph.