by Willard Manus
ago Resonance Records released Resonance Big Band Plays the Legacy of
Oscar Peterson, a fabulous CD on which Marian Petrescu, the Rumanian-born
piano virtuoso, made his American debut. An Oscar Peterson disciple, the
39-year-old Petrescu not only channeled his idol but turned the CD into
a showcase for his own remarkable gifts--gifts that prompted one critic
to call him "the Horowitz of jazz piano."
Now Petrescu, who lives most of the year in Finland, where he heads a
music school and teaches both jazz and classical, is back with a new CD,
THRIVIN'--LIVE AT THE JAZZ STANDARD (Resonance Records). Heading a quartet
comprised of the guitarist (and fellow-European) Andreas Oberg, bassist
David Finck and drummer Mark McLean, Petrescu lights up the jazz sky,
proving once again that he is indeed a keyboard meteor.
Whether quietly and romantically investigating Miles Davis' classic, "Blue
in Green" or attacking such finger-poppin' numbers as "Cakewalk"
or "On the Trail" (a fiery section from Ferde Grof's Grand Canyon
Suite), Petrescu plays with impeccable taste, feeling and virtuosity throughout--and
he's matched every note of the way by his equally gifted bandmates.