mon dessin de Michel Petrucciani

It is the opposite of Mark Twain, whose death was (at first) “greatly exaggerated.”  Michel Petrucciani is dead.  But I thought he was alive.  I only learned last Saturday that he is dead.  Indeed, he has been dead the entire time that I discovered he existed.  Only I didn’t know.  I saw no references to death, only to life.  It’s not even a lack of research.  Somehow I had learned that he began playing piano at age 4, yet I knew nothing about his passing in 1999 in New York.  He was 36, one year older than Mozart.

I felt so sad upon learning of his death, which was fresh news to me, in a strange transposition of events coming from an internet world.  I cannot recall how I first learned about his music.  Since then, however, I’ve seen him interviewed, listened to his quips in both French and English.  Recently I posted a link to a Petrucciani documentary to this blog, and that was still before I learned he was gone!

In the documentary they pull a genuine New York stunt of having Petrucciani play something on a Steinway installed atop a skyscraper.  Parts of the scene are filmed by a chopper flying overhead.  That same chopper catches some scenes of the New York panorama aloft, including one quick glance at the World Trade Center Towers.  Like any American, I felt a tug at just the sight of the towers and thought to myself, “all that was before.” 

Now I realize that Michel’s life belongs entirely to “before.”  He died without knowing that New York would be attacked,  a city he loved thinking, one supposes, that all the world loves her too.  His music has something of New York’s famous “energy” with a waft of the depths of French sophistication and classicism and nuance inside it.

Michel Petrucciani is dead, but in a cliche that could not represent a truth more aptly, his music lives on.  For me, his music was born after his passing.  Après et avant.

Je t’aime, Michel.  Et bon voyage à l’univers.

3 thoughts on “Michel Petrucciani est mort … et il est né

  1. Ce matin, 9 juin, il pleut,humide, froid et moche…et de regarder ce documentaire m’a fait oublier tout ça.
    Trés beau texte, trés beau dessin pour un magnifique artiste.

  2. Benedicte,

    Il est certainement un vrai magnifique musicien. I think his fame is just beginning to spread beyond France. It takes a while for jazz to get its due recognition in a world awash in other musical genres.

    But he is so amazing. Many of the songs he performed are his own compositions.

    I’m glad the post helped you forget the froidure. et la pluie.


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