Hal Galper & the Youngbloods

Live at the Cota Jazz Festival

origin 82738

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Raul da Gama, JazzdaGama

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It should come as no surprise that Hal Galper would be an enormously attractive mentor to younger musicians. Indeed, this is exactly what this live performance is made of: sparks that are ignited by the pianist, with the emerging fire stoked by a group of new-generation musicians comprising alto saxophonist Nathan Bellott, bassist Dean Torrey and the percussion colourist David Frazier. This repertoire is fashioned from old and relatively newer Hal Galper songs which invites us to journey through worlds at once zealous, reflective, and transcendent.

Mr Galper's writing abounds in poignant melodic lines, with dramatic harmonic and rhythmic flourishes for the interweaving instruments. Jazzy romanticism is in full bloom throughout this set; its amalgam of yearning and rapture could easily be taken for granted by this young group. Nothing of the sort here. Led by masterful pianism by Mr Galper, the group navigates the music with seductive and idiomatic gracefulness, shaping every phrase with ardent sensitivity, lingering or propelling the narratives as they heighten the music's ineffable meanings.

Of special interest is surely the old chestnuts from Mr Galper's songbook - such as "Speak with a Single Voice" and "Scufflin'" both of which are played with requisite mystery and a shimmering sense of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic intensity. The performance includes outstanding and powerful soli by Mr Galper and the young alto saxophonist Mr Bellott, which churn and heat up into fiery vortices into which the rhythmists are drawn. Each work features long, meandering and introspective soli which - when they end - beckon the rest of the ensemble to add imaginative and impressionistic touches to Mr Galper's vivid musical soundscape.








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