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by Stéphanie Chasseloup

If you break all your bones while you are being born, it is definitely not a good start.
You fought, you survived.
Maybe you were repaired with some clockwork, as you lived a pulse-pounding life.
97 cm, a weird look.
Big hands that helped you declare who you were.
36 years the time granted.
A short and inspired life devoted to music. Wonder maker, pathological curious, Michel Petrucciani was one of the greatest jazz pianist of our time. “When I was four, my mother gave me a toy piano. It sounded like a toy, so I didn’t want it. I understood that I had to do something theatrical if I wanted to be taken seriously. I asked her for a hammer and broke the piano. The following year I got a real one – had I been submissive, I would have always lost.” He didn’t study, the disease that turned his bones into glass confined him at home, he couldn’t walk, but he found an opening to go out in the world: music. He dreamt of playing with the greatest musicians, he learnt tunes by ear listening to records. He couldn’t reach the pedals, so his father built a device that allowed him to. This is how he made his dream come true. He was an unfaithful lover, women went crazy for him, for that strange jumble of nature. He used to say about himself, “I know I am different from the others, so what? I live in a world of giants, but this depends on your perspective. I like to think I am the normal one and it’s the others that are too big. I feel good, I am a normal man, I have a woman and children, even if this world is not made for small people. If I can’t be like the others, well, I must be extraordinary”. As he played, he continued to break his bones: his fingers, then his collarbone, and he even broke his sacrum, but he didn’t stop. He was happy only when he played. He feared death, not pain, which he unfortunately knew very well as it accompanied every breath he took. He was afraid of not having enough time, not doing enough, of discovering that there was nothing afterwards and that passing away like that was awfully unfair for somebody like him who didn’t like to waste time. Day by day, all this vitality finally took his life away.
Born with every disadvantage and forced to face every kind of challenge, Michel won, he successfully met them all.
He rests at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery close to Frédéric Chopin.

Michel Petrucciani 1962-1999
Michel Petrucciani – Body & Soul, directed by Michael Radford, 2011