Pianist Jacky Terrasson and bassist Christian McBride are standouts among the latest crop of jazz young bloods. Having tested their talents as sidemen with some demanding jazz veterans, both Terrasson and McBride launch their careers as bandleaders with sessions worth savoring.
Terrasson, 29, the 1993 winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition, did long apprenticeships with drummer Art Taylor and singer Betty Carter before breaking out on his own. On Jacky Terrasson (Blue Note), he takes a contemplative approach to "My Funny Valentine," "I Love Paris" and other jazz standards, shrouding the familiar melodies with veiled harmonies and implied rhythms. Terrasson is a brooding modernist with a classicist's touch.
By contrast, McBride is a merry young man with a very old soul. At 22, he has already made more than 70 recordings as a sideman and earned the admiration of master bassists Milt Hinton, 84, and Ray Brown, 68, who make a cameo appearance on Gettin' to It (Verve). McBride proves he can move with the groove on the title track, an acoustic tribute to his idol, James Brown. But the dark, round tone and rhythmic resilience he displays on a solo rendition of the jazz standard "Night Train" reveals he is possessed of a musical wisdom well beyond his years.
With emerging talents like Terrasson and McBride, both the past and future of jazz appear to be in good hands.