More than 35 years after his death, the work of Bernard Peiffer is probably one of the most misunderstood of modern jazz. With extraordinary talent, Peiffer never stopped to change his art in search of a perfect fusion between classical music and jazz. An expression that applies to develop in concert as evidenced by the eight unreleased tracks presented in this reissue. Peiffer will demonstrate a mastery and unlimited imagination in interpretation of standards. The introduction of 6 minutes of Lullaby of Birdland and compositions completely unbridled, when it is not improvised pieces from start to finish (Perfect Storm). Leonard Feather; "Bernard Peiffer is amazing. Art Tatum aside, I do not know of another virtuoso jazz pianist also." Unfortunately, the French pianist will have little opportunity to return to the studio. One can only regret listening to the very rare album "Modern Jazz for People Who Like Original Music", released in 1960, his most personal album. Sans probably too far ahead of his time, Bernard Peiffer will have collected in his lifetime the recognition he deserves.
"Bittersweet": No one truly knows how many musical geniuses have remained unknown or under-regarded over the course of history. I am certain the number would stagger the mind as well as the amount of superlative talent they each possessed that never experienced the applause or recognition they so richly deserved...a crime of musical silence. In the case of my father, I have known all too well what many never heard nor experienced of his evolution as a master musician and pianist beyond the records he sporadically released over his attenuated career none of which equaled his improvisational, unique live performances. Although my bias is obvious, I have a deep appreciation to hear a musician's mastery of an instrument that permits them to be an orchestra in and of themselves. To that point, my father devoted his prodigious faculties plus unique creative styling to fuse the classical & jazz idioms and celebrate that the two musical expressions were undeniable musical-siblings, each with limitless improvisational potential which he often commented marginalized his acceptance from each musical community and their myopic philosophies. He had the holistic vision of their commonality and it's my assertion he was a musician ahead of his time.
My father's boisterous, critical temperament was well documented, yet misconstrued given major professional disappointments, personal tragedies along with stratospheric levels of artistic pride and an unwillingness to compromise. Many would say that stubborness cost him dearly with respect to business management...and he absolutely detested the term "business" to be used in any relative context to music and how it contaminated its purity. The good news was...he always played what he wanted to play, when he wanted to play and how he wanted it played...and his audiences always left very satisfied and awestruck. To those who knew him, you experienced his kindness, quick wit and unbridled comedic sensibilities even during his performances. I ask each of you to spread the word of his impact on music/Jazz to garner the recognition he so richly deserves in the lexicon of jazz pianists.
I will end with this...The Bernard Peiffer story is what I would call "bittersweet" given what he experienced as a man, father, husband and especially a master musician. Ponder this...In his prime, he knew his life would be cut short due to chronic illness. I cannot imagine being THAT talented and knowing my musical gift would end at the of early age of 53, and without the widespread recognition. It's my true hope these new releases will find new ears and minds who will be inspired by his contributions to the world of music and its creative potential.
Dad...As your son, you're always with me and I am very proud to bear your name as are your grandson's Andraysen and Tatum. We're keeping you alive and well.