This week, Romanian pianist Marian Petrescu makes his Piano Jazz debut with guest host Renee Rosnes. The fleet-fingered Petrescu has been performing in Europe since he was a teenager.
- "A Little Jazz Exercise" (O. Peterson)
- "Cakewalk" (O. Peterson)
- "My Romance" (R. Rodgers, L. Hart)
- "Goodbye" (G. Jenkins)
- "Yours Is My Heart Alone" (Franz Lehar)
- "Body And Soul" (E. Heyman, R. Sour, F. Eyton, J. Green)
- "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" (B. MacDonald, J. Hanley)
courtesy of the artist
Marian Petrescu. courtesy of the artist
Petrescu makes a grand entrance with Oscar Peterson's "A Little Jazz Exercise." It's quite a workout, and there's nothing little about this tune as Petrescu flies through it. He continues the session with another challenging Peterson number, "Cakewalk."
Next, Petrescu and Rosnes switch gears for a duet on the Rodgers and Hart ballad "My Romance." The tune swings gently, and Petrescu's dynamic right hand keeps things lively. Rosnes follows with her solo version of Gordon Jenkins' famed tune, the melancholy "Goodbye."
The two pianists perform another duet in "Yours Is My Heart Alone," by Franz Lehar. Petrescu and Rosnes maintain a quick tempo through the entire piece. At the end, Rosnes exclaims, "Well that was a lot of notes!" To which Petrescu replies, "Yes, but in the right places."
Then, Petrescu displays his wide command of harmonies in a touching rendition of "Body and Soul." He credits Bill Evans and Rachmaninoff as primary influences.
"Bill Evans is the greatest jazz harmonist," he says. "And of course, Sergei Rachmaninoff –- the giant chords and the octaves, with those big hands. He is my favorite."
Petrescu closes this Piano Jazz session in tribute to that other giant of swift, technically brilliant piano — Art Tatum — with a solo rendition of "(Back Home Again In) Indiana."