Hal Galper

Live at the Berlin Philharmonic, 1977

origin 82810

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Lance Liddle, BeBop Spoken Here (UK)

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Six tracks - the shortest at 9:31, the longest at 24:36 - spread over two CDs recorded live at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1977 gave me the feeling of being there. This feeling helped on by the audience's enthusiasm.
If Michael Brecker had blown these choruses at a JATP concert 30 years earlier he'd have been accused of exhibitionism or playing to the crowd. However, by this time, such pyrothechnics had been absorbed into most saxophonists' lexicon and regarded as the norm although few, if any, did it anywhere near as well as Brecker.

In Berlin that night, both of the Brothers Brecker were on fire taking the hard bop of Blakey and co to a level that even today sounds incredible with the Brecker boys finding a different kind of freedom to what they had in their jazzrock, fusion band and swinging their butts off into the bargain!

Leader Galper is equally hot on piano and Bob Moses' solo on This is the Thing grabbed the audience with a display of tub-thumping that had them screaming for more - nothing changes!

Galper gave them a number he wrote whilst with Cannonball - Hey Fool. After the composer's solo, trumpet Brecker laid down a seemingly impossible benchmark for saxophone Brecker to match but, needless to say, Michael raised the bar even higher.

Let these two loose without the responsibility of leadership and the sparks fly. I don't think I've ever heard either of them play quite as exciting as this. Not that it was all about going for the jugular. I'll Never Stop Loving You, is a delightful ballad with Galper maybe grabbing the cigar although Michael's lyricism comes close with a spectacular coda that is one of the most outstanding examples of unaccompanied saxophone playing I've ever experienced. Randy stepped down for this one.

If I had access to a retro time machine this would be my first stop on a journey that would end in a New Orleans bordello listening to Jelly Roll Morton - well that would be my excuse for being there!








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