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Terry Trotter: I Play the Piano Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 (96 kHz/24-bit); Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (96 kHz/24-bit) (Audience Mix & Stage Mix); Dolby Digital 5.1; 2-Channel FLAC (96 kHz/24-bit); 2-Channel MP3 (320 kbps); 2-Channel Headphone “Surround Mix” (48 kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: AIX Records
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $34.99

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4.5/5]

Terry Trotter has earned the accolade of a “musician’s musician” during a career spanning several decades. A concert and studio pianist who has played with the best of the best like Les Brown, Chet Baker, Joe Pass, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, Trotter trots out twenty-one jazz etudes for solo piano, including three Trotter originals:

  • The Kerry Dance
  • A Sleepin’ Bee
  • Ligia
  • Central Avenue Blues
  • Roung About
  • Nobody Else But Me
  • Prelude To A Kiss
  • Sophisticated Lady
  • In A Sentimental Mood
  • Who Cares
  • Where Flamingos Fly
  • Willow Weep For Me
  • ‘Sssupp!
  • Body & Soul
  • It Could Happen To You
  • Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
  • Ill Wind
  • Where is Your Heart (Moulin Rouge)
  • All Alone By The Telephone
  • Serenity Within
  • Tea For Two

This is a 70-minute tour de force of the most rhythmically right and improvised tunes that you are likely to hear on today’s music scene. As my ears took in the sounds that Trotter’s fingers extracted from the Steinway, I was reminded on some occasions of Bill Evans, on others of Oscar Peterson, and still others, Dave Brubeck. The bond shared by all of these legends, in spite of their considerable improvisational skills, was their profound respect for the melodies that inspired their performances.  It is this innate bond, shared by Trotter that also elevates him to the top rank of current jazz pianists; he just makes old works sound fresh and evergreen.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Shooting a solo pianist in a studio with no props but his piano and bench yet keeping things interesting is a supreme challenge for the videographers. In the main, the production crew was up to this challenge and overcame the subdued lighting and the dark jacket worn by Trotter. We get plenty of close-up shots and there is enough camera movement to keep viewers engaged. Detail is a bit on the soft side.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

There are four soundtracks (Dolby 5.1 TrueHD (“stage” and “audience” mixes) as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2.0) and three two channel (FLAC, MP3, and “headphone”) audio-only versions for a personal computer. The piano is a most challenging instrument to record well since its music is generated from a complex set up of strings, soundboard, keys, and pedals. The piano also produces a wealth of harmonics, overtones and other sound effects covering a broad frequency spectrum.  In performance, pianists can create both warm full-bodied and bright penetrating sounds. The present recording allows us to hear everything but the clicks of the fingers on the keys and the stomp of feet on the pedals.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

We get a brief program booklet about Trotter’s career with added comments by many friends and colleagues. There is a nine-minute interview in which the pianist discusses his career and musical influences. If there was any doubt, Trotter’s fabulous technique comes from his early training as a classical musician and his lifelong appreciation of the frequent interlacing of classical and jazz repertory.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A solo piano recital completely exposes an artist as there is nowhere to hide behind a rhythm section or other musicians. The choice of program material is also critical since too many sound-alike pieces would make for a dull evening. Terry Trotter gives us a playlist with enough depth and variety to satisfy every listener from contemplative exercises (Willow Weep for Me) to up tempo numbers (Nobody Else But Me). As most of these numbers began as songs, this program provides a great opportunity to hear how a piano can really sing. I highly recommend this BD and when you need a dose of great piano jazz, and many of us often do, you will want to drop it in your player again and again.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]



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