Jacky Terrasson: An Homage Fit For A King When Michael Jackson died last June, it was no surprise to witness an outpouring of soul and pop tributes. But jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson demonstrates just how far Jackson's influence stretches as he offers up a poignant rendition of the Jackson mega-hit "Beat It," which he fuses into a medley with the jazz standard "Body and Soul."

Jacky Terrasson: An Homage Fit For A King

'Beat It/Body And Soul' by Jacky Terrasson

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Pianist Jacky Terrasson fuses Michael Jackson's "Beat It" with the jazz standard "Body and Soul." courtesy of the artist hide caption

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courtesy of the artist

Pianist Jacky Terrasson fuses Michael Jackson's "Beat It" with the jazz standard "Body and Soul."

courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Beat It/Body and Soul"
  • Artist: Jacky Terrasson
  • CD: Push
  • Genre: Jazz

When Michael Jackson died last June, it was no surprise to witness an outpouring of R&B and pop tributes. But at the New York jazz club Iridium, Jacky Terrasson quickly proved just how far Jackson's influence stretched when the pianist offered up a poignant rendition of the Jackson mega-hit "Beat It."

In this studio version, Terrasson opens the song in elegiac fashion, as rippling, descending notes fall across Ben Williams' phantom-like bass counterpoint. Soon, Terrasson settles on the melody, solemnly and with gospel-like harmonies, as Williams' bass skulks underneath and drummer Jamire Williams (no relation) adds ghostly textures with his array of miniature percussion.

As the song gains rhythmic momentum, Terrasson's melodic improvisations become more cohesive, elastic and vivacious. Given the physicality and emotional intensity of Jackson's work, the segue into "Body and Soul" makes sense as the trio reaches a brief respite with the jazz classic before returning to "Beat It." At that point, though, the trio animates the melody with quaking piano tremolos, lacerating drumbeats and propulsive bass lines, in an homage fit for a king.