The Musical pencil of Michel Legrand

Image Credits: Michel Legrand © Yuka Yamaji

August 24, 2018

Michel Legrand in Tokyo

2018 marked Tokyo’s Blue Note 30th birthday. In July, to celebrate the occasion, the trio of the great composer and jazz musician Michel LeGrand was invited to play; the trio members are the leader on piano, Geoff Gascoyne on double bass and Sebastiaan De Krom on Drums. Legrand most famous achievements are soundtracks: he wrote the music for more than 200 films and TV series, by winning three Oscars and five Grammy Awards.

The night of the show the Blue Note was sold out; Michel Legrand is 86 years old, and he walked very slowly on stage, with applauses and cheers that lasted until he sat on the piano. The master is a very humorous person. He said, “I am very happy to be back to Japan. I haven’t been here for five years, I could have come ten times.” and then added: “The songs you hear today are all from my pencil, not from a pen; because I can wipe it off…  I haven’t had a concert for a long time…” The audience laughed happily.
The opening song was the Ray Blues, and the time went back to the 1982 French Pianist TV show, a classic scene in the Grand Studio series hosted by Jean Bardin and Michel Legrand: Ray Charles, Morris Wande, Michel Legrand, George Arvanitas, George Rabol and Rhoda Scott’s keyboard Battle. Michel previously said Ray Charles is his favourite musician.
Michel then played Once Upon a Summer Time. In You Must Believe in Spring, Michel’s and Geff Gascoyne’s interplay and improvisation were very exciting.Later, Michel talked about the movie Dingo, the soundtrack of was a joint work with Miles Davis. While playing the solo of the song “Dingo Rock”, the interplay between Michel and Sebastiaan was amazing, making all the audience thrilled with joy. In the end, even Michel couldn’t help but blew a kiss to Sebastiaan.
Michel introduced each song with an interesting story so that, while listening to the song, you could imagine the story told by the music.He said that he had a dream, he always dreamt of jazz pianists. In this dream, a man in black walked towards him and said “I’m Art Tatum, let me play one of your tunes, Watch What Happens”. Michel explained to the audience that Art Tatum was an extraordinary jazz pianist and the father of jazz piano. After playing the song, Michel stopped and said that Art had gone to heaven. 
Then Michel performed a series of masterpieces written by Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Erroll Garner Dave Brubeck and other masters.
The climax of the night was a seven different styles rendition of the 1964 classic movie main theme Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. The popular theme song  included elements of folk, ballad, jazz waltz, tango, Bossa Nova, New Orleans… and even Russian style!
My seat was close to the stage, but I could only see the back of the master. The colorful improvisation and interaction of the entire band was reflected in the vivid and interesting expression of Sebastiaan De Krom.
Of course, the encore was The Windmills of Your Mind!
I was very happy to be able to attend this show.
The set list:
1. Ray Blues
2. Once Upon A Summertime
3. You Must Believe in Spring
4. What Are You Going To Do The Rest Of Your Life
5. Family Fugue
6. Dingo Lament
7. Dingo Rock
8. Les Pianistes De Jazz
9. Les Parapluies De Cherbourg
The Windmills Of Your Mind
 Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  The Musical pencil of Michel Legrand copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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