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The Big Takeover Issue #93
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Mathis Picard - Live at the Museum (Outside In Music)

31 January 2022

After gigging and recording as a sideperson for the last five years or so, young pianist Mathis Picard makes his full-length solo debut with Live at the Museum. Recorded in Harlem’s National Jazz Museum, Picard essentially offers a survey of his influences, classical and jazz, as well as his own take on the traditions with some originals. Playing what sounds an upright piano, which has its own reverberating sound separate from a grand, Picard skips merrily and skillfully through compositions by Bix Beiderbicke (“In a Mist”), the Modern Jazz Quartet’s John Lewis (“The Creation of the World”), Maurice Ravel (“Le Gibet”), and film composer John Williams (“Leia’s Song,” from the Star Wars franchise). Most telling, though, is the inclusion of two pieces from the repertoire of pioneering stride pianist Willie “The Lion” Smith – the bluesy melodies, classical harmonies and finger-busting runs of “Cuttin’ Out” and “Woodland Fantasy” sound like the biggest influence on Picard’s own songs, particularly “Snake Song” and “Clouds.” It’s too early to tell what Picard’s vision really is, outside of an obvious love of performing, but the skill and enthusiasm he exhibits here indicates little will be beyond his grasp.