PREVIEW: Michel Petrucciani London Jazz Festival

Michael Petrucciani

There is a mean feast coming up at the Barbican: Jazz in all its diversity, represented by some of the greatest: Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock (in his first ever solo UK concert), John McLaughlin, Chick Chorea, and Jan Garbarek. Also showing will be a film about the legendary Michel Petrucciani.

Michel Radford, who directed such memorable films such as Il Postino, 1984 and Flawless, brings us Michel Petrucciani, a film that tries to find the essence of the world-famous jazz pianist who died at just 36 years-old.

Petrucciani was born with Glass-bone Disease, and when he was born, every bone in his body was broken. But this amazing man overcame his stature (he was three feet tall) and his daily pain by living such a full, joyous life, and became such an accomplished, wonderful musician, that we have to wonder: "How did he do that?"

Radford’s film observed Michel closely and spoke to his family and friends. The man born in Orange in Provence travelled the world, often carried around by admirers much to his pleasure, especially if they were women. He played with Miles Davies, Django Reinhardt, and Art Tatum, toured with Charles Lloyd, and was the first non-American to be signed to Blue note.

This big-hearted man reminds us through his huge, ever-present smile what it really is to be a man, to live fully despite anything that might afflict us. His son, who has inherited his disease puts it perfectly: "Instead of becoming weird, I intend to become exceptional".

A piece of inspiration at the London Jazz Festival? I'd say so.


Click here to find out more about The London Jazz Festival.