Hal Galper Trio

Airegin Revisited

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MUSIC REVIEW BY George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon

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There?s some real deep, thoughtful stuff going on here. Right off the bat, it seems that Hal Galper has taken a turn in the road since his more straight ahead days on the Concord label. His music is more angular, with increased emphasis on creative and sometimes complex improvisation and less attention to melody. I gotta admit, it?s often compelling listening. However, I had to work pretty hard to get to it. Take the opener, Gershwin?s classic ?Embraceable You.? Not until the tune enters its last chorus do we ?know for sure? what it is! But give Galper kudos for his bullseye communication with his veteran playing mates, Jeff Johnson, bass, and John Bishop, drums. These guys ?read? one another eerily well. It?s just that the music often approaches the avant garde where sometimes the sound takes precedence over the melody. The other familiar tunes on the disc were George Shearing?s ?Conception? and Sonny Rollins? classic, ?Airegin.? The former is played from every angle, completely ?undressed? and thoroughly examined. But charming lyricism is nowhere to be found. The Rollins? gem is also given a completely new approach. The virtuosic playing is something to behold, but when does it swing? Or, does that simply not matter anymore? Galper is often an absolutely riveting piano presence, and his trio is as tight and together as nearly anyone?s. There?s just too many ingredients in this soup for me to digest it all.






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