Last October, I caught your performance at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. Michel, do you remember that set. You played with your all-star big band. Antonio Hart and Conrad Herwig were in your band. You only played fast tempo Latin jazz songs, which was fine with me. But, midway through the set, I wondered if you could play love songs with the same facility. Anyhow, I thought about that concert for a long time.
At the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, weeks later, I talked about that concert with my friend, Chris. Chris said you played the piano like you’re juiced up. That October evening was my first time hearing you live, and you put on a good show. On the drive home, I wondered how you would sound with a trio.
Two weeks ago, Decca Records mailed me your new trio album Mano a Mano. Michel, honest to God, I’ve played it everyday since. I liked how you mixed your originals with some familiar jazz classics such as John Coltrane's Niama and Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder.
You may find this hard to believe. I play your Latin jazz makeover of Sidewinder at least ten times daily. The first time I heard it my ears jumped of the a side of my face and started break dancing
Of course, there’re other memorable songs on the album Then and Now and Rice and Bean are good examples. And You and Me and About You are perfect slow jams.
If Lee Morgan were alive, I bet he’d appreciate how you changed Sidewinder. Michel, I’d send people out to buy Mano a Mano just to hear your spin of Sidewinder. I guarantee they’d like the album. But, if they don’t, for some strange reason, I’d refund their money.