Music is about sharing: an artist sharing his music with his/her band mates, and an artist and/or group sharing the music with the listener. The great musicians like French pianist Baptiste Trotignon an inventive and inspiring artist who has performed with the Moutin Reunion Quartet, Stefano Di Battista and Aldo Romano, (and Grand Prize winner of the 2002 Martial Solal Piano Competition), understands that simple, yet complex truth. And the proof can be heard on his incredible Sunnyside debut, Share, featuring an international cast of sidemen including New Zealand/New York bassist Matt Penman, and American drummers Eric Harland and Otis Brown III, with special guests Tom Harrell on flugelhorn and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. One could easily conclude this all-star lineup would sound exactly like an all-star date: with lots of flashy playing but no interaction. But Trotignon s compositional genius, as evidenced in the CD s eleven tracks, reveals his gift for writing musical structures that fully explore the capabilities and talents of his bandmates.
I have always liked the idea of being able to write music while thinking ahead and keeping in mind those who will perform it (Duke Ellington was a master at this), along with the staging it implies, Trotignon says. As soon as we started playing the pieces that make up the repertoire of the album, the way that Matt, Otis, Eric, Mark and Tom succeeded in being totally themselves while staying close to what I meant by those themes went way beyond anything I expected! All with the simplicity that characterizes the greatest improvisers.
That improvisational simplicity individually manifested by Harland and Brown s articulate drumming, Penman s sure-footed basslines, Harrell s butter-tone hornlines, Turner s silken sax statements, and, of course, Trotignon s spare but succulent pianism a healthy amalgam of Bill Evan s harmonic sense, Herbie Hancock s ideas, and Keith Jarrett s improvisational passion abounds on the CD s eleven tracks. First Song, Mon Ange, Peace, Red Light District, Vibe and Grey all swing in shifting melodic and rhythmic textures that evolve into evocative unit structures that still retain the sound of surprise, which encompass 4/4 time, Latin tempos, waltzes, and straight-ahead post-bop. Turner and Harrell add their horn-born aural opinions on Samsara, Flow, and Dexter while Blue is a passionate Trotignon/Harrell duet.