Pianist Hal Galper?s overhauled piano approach, which he calls ?rubato,? is in full effect on his latest trio outing, Trip The Light
Fantastic. Galper?s partners, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, are perfectly suited for rubato playing, which involves stretching and manipulating tempo, form, harmony and meter. Melodies are often disguised and deconstructed, time and phrasing are morphed like clay, transitions evolve?they are not cued. Central to the group?s approach is the relaxing of inhibitions and the willingness to embrace and follow the paths spontaneity presents. Each player simultaneously fills the soloist and accompanist roles.
While the Galper trio?s aesthetic isn?t new, the high level of integration and communication it displays is rare and quite thrilling to experience, both on record and in person. The group flexes its muscles on a virtuosic performance of ?Alice In Wonderland.? The track, which opens the record, is a quick and frantic romp that begins with Galper presenting the head in time. This stability is short lived, however, as the players go slightly out of time with each other, resulting in a tug and pull that builds tension, propelling the music forward. Galper restates the head, the group slips into a coda, builds steam, goes sideways and lets the tune melt into the ether. Galper?s ?Get Up & Go? begins with short, punchy, dissonant tone clusters before settling into a medium swing. Bishop, whom Galper favorably compares to Rashied Ali, briefly moves his ride cymbal out of and then back into time, anticipating the tune?s sojourn into a dense thicket.