Hal Galper Trio

The Zone: Live at the Yardbird Suite

origin 82793

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Raul da Gama, JazzdaGama

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The action shifts here to Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, to a venue called, appropriately The Yardbird Suite. It is a quieter venue and [also appropriately] Mr Galper begins the proceedings with a venerable interpretation of John Carisi's "Israel". It is clear from the outset that the venue is not as acoustically perfect as the musicians would have liked it to be and the music seems to echo as if in a small cavern. Fortunately, this does little to deter the formidable musicianship of Mr Galper, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer and impresario, John Bishop. After exiting the harmonic labyrinths of "Israel" the trio emerges with exquisitely airy impressionism from songs such as "Cubist" and "Artist" - two of four superb compositions by Mr Johnson.

This trio parley with the familiarity of old friends, yet their playing always retains the sense of risqué etiquette associated with the jazzy idiom. By the time Mr Johnson has made his mark on the opening of "Cubist" the three musicians pull the proverbial plug on academic expressions of melody, harmony, and rhythm. A rumbling percussive groove is established, and, in short order, caution is thrown to the winds as all the musical elements collide as if at the mouth of a veritable vortex. "Artist" is quite a change of pace, and it is characterized by glistening arpeggios and vaunted glissandos by Mr Galper. The sinuous pianism is mirrored by the rumbling pizzicato of Mr Johnson's bass as he seems to vault from one harmonic variation to the next.

Meanwhile John Bishop drives the whole episode with equal parts invention and rippling groove which allows the pianist and bassist to propel themselves into the stratosphere, launched in long elliptical orbits while the drummer quietly holds things down in the proverbial pocket with high-hat and quiet brushing accented occasionally with a hint of a depth bomb on the bass drum.

Mr Galper explodes on the dancing compositions, "Scene West", his playing richly evocative, spontaneously evanescent and above all a work that is deeply personal, ensconced in a dark harmonic conception, shattered often by audacious rhythmic changes. "Scufflin'", echoing with contrafacts from "Giant Steps" and the tenderness of "Naima", vibrates with unfettered energy tinged with tenderness, while the set ends in the whimsy of "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite" and you have another miraculous performance that revolves around Mr Galper.








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