REVIEW: Grégory Privat New Trio with Linley Marthe and Tilo Bertholo at Duc Des Lombards, Paris

Grégory Privat, Linley Marthe, Tilo Bertholo


Grégory Privat New Trio
Duc des Lombards, Paris, 28th November 2016. Second set, first night. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

Those hands. Perhaps one day someone will make a film about them. Pianist Grégory Privat's fingers are improbably, powerfully yet expressively long. He gave last night's Paris audience a wonderful demonstration of the movements of spiders in a web with them, to explain what his tune Zig Zagriyen (*) was all about. And then when he plays, the fingers are often laid completely straight and flat across the keys of the piano, which give him all kinds of options with his touch. He has velocity and technique to spare, and also a strong melodic sense, particularly in lyrical pieces such as Le Parfum and Le Bonheur. 


Those...hands! 

Last night was part of an album launch residency for his new CD Family Tree, and the Duc des Lombards was full to bursting. Word has definitely got about. Two young people from northern Greece whom I met in the queue had made the trip to Paris specially, with their outing to this gig as the highlight of the visit, having seen Privat on YouTube. One does indeed sense a building reputation.

The rhetoric and the "story" are about the Creole heritage - Privat's father is a pianist from Martinique -, and as a thoughtful and reflective musician who is launching a career in his early thirties, he has considered opinions about his origins. But musically what I was hearing far more was a strong jazz piano heritage: Jarrett, Petrucciani, and particularly Brad Mehldau.

He has a very fine trio indeed. The bassist Linley Marthe's quality and sheer presence are well known from his associations with the late Joe Zawinul and Trilok Gurtu. For this trio he ventures onto double bass, and was playin consistently in a space-leaving, less-is-more kind of a way, knowing absolutely every melodic intervention expected of him without any sheet  music or obvious cue-ing, He stayed in that inconspicuous and supportive role until right before the end. In the encore Galactica, he unleashed a complete storm of a solo with all kinds of finger-poppings and double stopping techniques adapted from the electric bass. Drummer Tilo Bertholo reminded me of Corrie Dick from Scotland. Both are  young masters of creating ambient textures full of tingling energy and life.






The Duc des Lombards is a tiny club with free seating which has its advantages and its drawbacks, The only way to nab a decent seat - one should learn from one's errors - is to stand and queue outside on the pavement for at least half an hour before the due time of the gig, which at this time of the year means bringing your coat and scarf. It is a tiny club, and last night there was an offensive total idiot, loudly praising and wolf-whistling the band, ranting that he was going exact personal revenge on people who didn't buy Grégory Privat's new album, by killing them. Privat dealt with his repeated, unfortunate interventions with poise and class. Privat has an assured, confident and friendly stage manner and it was clear that the audience was not just keen on the music anyeay, but also increasingly drawn in by the performance as the evening progressed.

All in all, this was a very fine and completely feel-good gig. A fascinating and individual musical voice well worth hearing.



Grégory Privat, Linley Marthe and Tilo Bertholo
acknowledge the applause at the end of the night


(*) Zig Zagriyen is a play on "zarenyen" the Creole word for spider.

LINKS: Grégory Privat at ACT Music

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