There are some recordings that really defy you to place them in one sort of category or another and this is definitely one of them. Toukouleur, the new recording by French pianist Claude Terranova seems to know no bounds, it is as limitless as the imagination of its creator. It might be what it sounds like to soar through space and time, completely free from earthly ties. It is the soundtrack to the creative mind at work.
The opening track "Sammy" has a real African beat to it, there are sounds of the rain-forest in the background as well as calls and chants and a haunting flute sound that is very intoxicating to listen to. One is reminded of Miles Davis because of the trumpet element that is added in small doses here and there, all driven along by Mr Terranova's piano.This a dance number that would allow for just about anything to be done without looking out of place or like you don't get it.
"Dembass" is quieter yet just as soulful as the previous track, this one has a great bass line and a strong percussion section to it that makes it hard to resist. Mr Terranova's playing is refined and elegant,the sound is clear and shows the considerable depth of his talent. "Marrakesh" starts off with a very strong bass line that leads into a song that has both a real jazz feel to it , or maybe more of a Latin flavor, that is the joy of this recording each number is open to interpretation, you are never wrong, how you hear it is how it is.
"Sarajevo Toa", is a wonderfully chaotic number that is part opera, part political number, part jazz, part Latin jazz, part everything but the kitchen sink. The effect of the number complete with thunderclaps is intoxicating. From there we go into a beautiful ballad, "Isabelle" this is more of a jazz trio type of number, just piano, bass and drums. The melody is haunting and soulful and is played with subtle conviction by Mr Terranova and company.
Terranova seems to have a real affinity for world music and that is clearly evident on "Andy" another African inspired number that builds upon the strong bass playing of Pascal Teillet that then swings over into a more Caribbean beat with the addition of steel drums the song and the playing are a real joy to listen to, just when the whole number seems to have one tempo, it switches beats and head somewhere completely different.
Before you think that this is all New Age stuff we switch gears again and go into the most unique number on the whole alum, "Giant Steps " by John Coltrane. Here we get a another taste of the strong bass of Mr Teillet which is nothing short of remarkable, the sound is underscored by the hip-hop like vocal which acts as a counterweight to the bass. Very unique.
"Sanza" is another fine ballad that allows Mr Terranova to spread his wings and fly, this is playing at its best and Mr Terranova knows how to get the most from his instrument and with the bass and percussion filling in the blanks the song is polished and throughly enjoyable. The disk closes out on another turn into the world music scene with "Toubab", Latin influenced, Caribbean flavored and jazz driven it brings this remarkable ride through the mind and creative soul of Claude Terranova to a upbeat close.