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Review: Eric Legnini

Review: Eric Legnini Trio
(Pizza Express, February 10th 2010, review by Peter Horsfall)

Ever heard of Belgian pianist Eric Legnini?

Well, neither had I, before I spent a night at the Pizza Express this Wednesday watching him tear it up with his trio. Clearly drawing much of his inspiration from the major players in the history of jazz piano, Legnini is unlike many of his contemporaries as he speaks at once with both an authentic and creative voice.

The fantastic craftsmanship of Legnini’s piano work was evident from his beautiful solo introduction to the opening tune, Dizzy Gillespie’s classic Con Alma. He had also come armed with a flying right-hand, which seemingly grew in speed and dexterity as the night progressed, the influence of Powell and Peterson always present. Both the standard I Hear a Rhapsody and the Phineas Newborn Jnr composition Back Home swung like the clappers. A delight.

The Legnini-penned compositions in the set were largely a funkier affair and included the title track from his latest album Trippin’. Drummer Franck Agulhon didn’t need asking twice to get his groove-on and his Elvin Jones style polyrhythmic-shred worked well with the pianist’s own Tyner-esque modal explorations.

An up-tempo ‘Rhythm Changes’ tune saw the leader in his element as he launched into a tirade of searing bebop, underpinned by bassist Thomas Bramerie’s solid and unfussy walking . Thank you to the French Music Bureau for bringing Mr.Legnini over from his Paris base . I hope he’ll be back. And soon.

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