The Hal Galper Quartet W/  Jerry Bergonzi
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The Hal Galper Quartet W/ Jerry Bergonzi

Cochecton, NY 12726, USA | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE | AFM

Cochecton, NY 12726, USA | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Jazz Avant-garde

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"Hal Galper's Airgen Revisited is exhilarating."

Hal Galper's Airgen Revisited is exhilarating. The pianist has been working at his artistry for more than a half century, and he is moving surely into the "elder statesman of jazz" category, riding the furious wave of several distinctive and idiosyncratic trio recordings. Galper, like alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Martial Solal, has gone deeper into the music than seems possible, taking a great many standards and unleashing them, reshaping the familiar tunes with his unwavering vision into a new art. Galper has, in recent years, found a new home at Origin Records, offering a discography—Furious Rubato (2007), Art-Work (2009) E Pluribus Unum (2010) and Trip the Light Fantastic (2011)—that gets better and more compelling, with each subsequent release. He has also found two likeminded musical brothers in bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, versatile and sophisticated players who can keep up with his rubato concept, one of playing loose and free with tempo and harmony—even structure—twisting the familiar forms like a rubber band, then pulling them back and letting them fly free. Opening with an eleven minute-plus take on George Gershwin's "Embraceable You," the trio shifts shapes and colors, playing with the melody in a joyous exploration that slips, near the end, into a brief straight reading. The floating "One Step Closer," a Galper original inspired by Brazilian harmony, finds Johnson and Bishop laying down a subtle and graceful rhythm, with the pianist going into a sparkling Erroll Garner groove in his solo. Galper did what he calls his "post-graduate work" in Sam Rivers' band in the mid-sixties, and played on the saxophonist's A New Conception (Blue Note, 1966). Homage is paid to the teacher on Rivers' "Melancholia." Rivers was a rule-breaker, and student Galper learned lasting lessons, with the trio's version paying homage by slowing things down to evoke a sense of loss at Rivers' passing near the end of 2011. In another homage, Galper closes the disc with saxophone legend Sonny Rollins' title track. A fourteen-minute tour de force with, Bishop's cymbals steaming, and Johnson, bowing, it adds a viscous underpinning to an exuberant finale to this stunning album.
- by Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


"The wonderfully spry trio throw caution to the wind and end up with cohesive, soulful results on Airegin Revisited."

For a few years now, veteran pianist Hal Galper has been experimenting with an approach to jazz improvisation that he refers to as "rubato." This concept, as demonstrated on a series of recordings for Origin Records, uses familiar pieces and song forms and takes rather spontaneous liberty with tempo and tune structure. This may not seem like anything too out of the ordinary for the solo pianist, but within the context of a trio it would appear to be as difficult to pull off as it would be for listeners to digest. Fortunately, Galper has taken up with the willing and able rhythm team of drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson. The wonderfully spry trio throw caution to the wind and end up with cohesive, soulful results on Airegin Revisited. Along with a thorough deconstruction of the Sonny Rollins classic, Galper, a veteran of classic ensembles led by the likes of Phil Woods and Sam Rivers, carves a new path through George Shearing's "Conception" and River's "Melancholia." The pianist's own "One Step Closer" is influenced by the harmonic conventions of Brazilian writers, and perhaps due to the tune's striking chord color features some of the disc's more lyrical playing from both Galper and Johnson. Johnson and Bishop bookend Jimmy Garrison's "Ascendant" with in-the-pocket drum and bass hipness. Galper enters midway with an inspiring display of single-note lines that weave magically around Bishop's dynamic surges. - by John Barron, The Jazz Word


"The wonderfully spry trio throw caution to the wind and end up with cohesive, soulful results on Airegin Revisited."

For a few years now, veteran pianist Hal Galper has been experimenting with an approach to jazz improvisation that he refers to as "rubato." This concept, as demonstrated on a series of recordings for Origin Records, uses familiar pieces and song forms and takes rather spontaneous liberty with tempo and tune structure. This may not seem like anything too out of the ordinary for the solo pianist, but within the context of a trio it would appear to be as difficult to pull off as it would be for listeners to digest. Fortunately, Galper has taken up with the willing and able rhythm team of drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson. The wonderfully spry trio throw caution to the wind and end up with cohesive, soulful results on Airegin Revisited. Along with a thorough deconstruction of the Sonny Rollins classic, Galper, a veteran of classic ensembles led by the likes of Phil Woods and Sam Rivers, carves a new path through George Shearing's "Conception" and River's "Melancholia." The pianist's own "One Step Closer" is influenced by the harmonic conventions of Brazilian writers, and perhaps due to the tune's striking chord color features some of the disc's more lyrical playing from both Galper and Johnson. Johnson and Bishop bookend Jimmy Garrison's "Ascendant" with in-the-pocket drum and bass hipness. Galper enters midway with an inspiring display of single-note lines that weave magically around Bishop's dynamic surges. - by John Barron, The Jazz Word


"Hal Galper's Rubato playing style demands total focus to appreciate its nuances."

Hal Galper's Rubato playing style, which evolved over a period of years before the pianist made it the centerpiece of his group's performances, has confounded some listeners with its complex, overlapping rhythms where the musicians seem to be playing independently of one another. Yet those who focus on the interaction will recognize that it is just another method of giving familiar songs a new dimension. Galper's trio with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop went into the studio without preconceived ideas about any of the pieces played, producing stunning results. George Gershwin's "Embraceable You" opens as an extended improvisation that barely hints at the theme until the performance is nearly over, with Galper's long, elaborate lines complemented by his rhythm section's off-center accompaniment. The remaining tracks are all jazz compositions. The late bassist Jimmy Garrison's "Ascendant" is not common fare, and opens by showcasing Johnson's terrific chops backed by Bishop's crisp brushwork, with the leader's darting piano added later. Galper worked with the late Sam Rivers in the '60s, so it is hardly surprising that the saxophonist's "Melancholia" has long been a part of his repertoire. In his notes he shares that his slower rendition of it was to convey his sense of loss after Rivers' death. The Rubato method works well in this time-tested piece, gradually building in intensity. The contributions of George Shearing have been somewhat overlooked, as though "Lullaby of Birdland" is his only composition that mattered. Galper reminds listeners that Shearing's intricate bop vehicle "Conception" remains a challenge to jazz soloists, and the trio's brilliant reconception of it extends its value into a new century. Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" has long been a jam session favorite, though the trio's approach slows it down in the introduction while adding to its drama and exotic air before launching into a wild interpretation which constantly shifts both tempo and focus on this jazz standard; Johnson's edgy arco bass adds a nice touch. Finally, Galper's "One Step Closer" blends the influence of Brazilian-like harmony with a cascading, cyclical theme into a majestic performance. Hal Galper's Rubato playing style isn't for new or casual listeners, it demands total focus to appreciate its nuances. But the rewards are infinite for jazz fans who give it their undivided attention.
- **** - 4 Stars by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide


"An animated and unique offering."

Tempo Rubato is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist. The Hal Galper Trio is the principal exponent of this musical style which is front and center of their newest release Airegin Revisited. Hal Galper is a startling pianist, who was a post-bop stylist, now uses the rubato method with a percussive denseness to restructure recognizable tunes. As Galper indicates in the liner notes to this release: "for the most part we're trying to play ‘free' on structures, a way of playing developed during my six-year apprenticeship with Sam Rivers". The first offering is George Gershwin's "Embraceable You" on which the trio builds a captivatingly uneven setting of color and tempos in a joyous fashion before acknowledging a brief traditional riff on the composition. Drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson are an effective rhythm team who support the textural construct of Galper's playing. Since he has developed an appreciation of Brazilian harmony, Galper uses this to perfect effect on "One Step Closer" with a nod to Erroll Garner in the process.
Galper will be 75 in 2013 and has been a leader of his own groups for over four decades. In his early career as a sideman, he played with the likes of Phil Woods, Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley and Sam Rivers. However it was in his time with Rivers that he broke out with his own style and on Rivers' composition "Melancholia", Galper gives his mentor his due. Two long compositions dominate the closing cuts of the disc. First we have George Shearing's bop ode "Conception", and the other is Sonny Rollins' "Airegin", which as most jazz fans know is Nigeria spelled backwards .When Shearing first introduced the piece, he played it at a breakneck tempo. Later on in his career, he played the introduction at a slow pace and then picked it up after the first chorus to a swing beat. Galper chooses to offer it somewhere in-between and it is filled with fluid introspection along with Johnson showing he is a commanding bassist, and John Bishop demonstrating he is a cleverly vibrant drummer. The trio's version of the Rollins' tune is a showpiece for the band's expressive command of pace, tone, and texture as well as being fluently captivating. This release is a deep dive into the rubato concept that the band plays with animation and uniqueness.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
**** - 4 Stars
Hal Galper's Rubato playing style, which evolved over a period of years before the pianist made it the centerpiece of his group's performances, has confounded some listeners with its complex, overlapping rhythms where the musicians seem to be playing independently of one another. Yet those who focus on the interaction will recognize that it is just another method of giving familiar songs a new dimension. Galper's trio with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop went into the studio without preconceived ideas about any of the pieces played, producing stunning results. George Gershwin's "Embraceable You" opens as an extended improvisation that barely hints at the theme until the performance is nearly over, with Galper's long, elaborate lines complemented by his rhythm section's off-center accompaniment. The remaining tracks are all jazz compositions. The late bassist Jimmy Garrison's "Ascendant" is not common fare, and opens by showcasing Johnson's terrific chops backed by Bishop's crisp brushwork, with the leader's darting piano added later. Galper worked with the late Sam Rivers in the '60s, so it is hardly surprising that the saxophonist's "Melancholia" has long been a part of his repertoire. In his notes he shares that his slower rendition of it was to convey his sense of loss after Rivers' death. The Rubato method works well in this time-tested piece, gradually building in intensity. The contributions of George Shearing have been somewhat overlooked, as though "Lullaby of Birdland" is his only composition that mattered. Galper reminds listeners that Shearing's intricate bop vehicle "Conception" remains a challenge to jazz soloists, and the trio's brilliant reconception of it extends its value into a new century. Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" has long been a jam session favorite, though the trio's approach slows it down in the introduction while adding to its drama and exotic air before launching into a wild interpretation which constantly shifts both tempo and focus on this jazz standard; Johnson's edgy arco bass adds a nice touch. Finally, Galper's "One Step Closer" blends the influence of Brazilian-like harmony with a cascading, cyclical theme into a majestic performance. Hal Galper's Rubato playing style isn't for new or casual listeners, it demands total focus to appreciate its nuances. But the rewards are infinite for jazz fans - **** - 4 Stars Audiophile Audition (Pierre Giroux)


"An animated and unique offering."

Tempo Rubato is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist. The Hal Galper Trio is the principal exponent of this musical style which is front and center of their newest release Airegin Revisited. Hal Galper is a startling pianist, who was a post-bop stylist, now uses the rubato method with a percussive denseness to restructure recognizable tunes. As Galper indicates in the liner notes to this release: "for the most part we're trying to play ‘free' on structures, a way of playing developed during my six-year apprenticeship with Sam Rivers". The first offering is George Gershwin's "Embraceable You" on which the trio builds a captivatingly uneven setting of color and tempos in a joyous fashion before acknowledging a brief traditional riff on the composition. Drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson are an effective rhythm team who support the textural construct of Galper's playing. Since he has developed an appreciation of Brazilian harmony, Galper uses this to perfect effect on "One Step Closer" with a nod to Erroll Garner in the process.
Galper will be 75 in 2013 and has been a leader of his own groups for over four decades. In his early career as a sideman, he played with the likes of Phil Woods, Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley and Sam Rivers. However it was in his time with Rivers that he broke out with his own style and on Rivers' composition "Melancholia", Galper gives his mentor his due. Two long compositions dominate the closing cuts of the disc. First we have George Shearing's bop ode "Conception", and the other is Sonny Rollins' "Airegin", which as most jazz fans know is Nigeria spelled backwards .When Shearing first introduced the piece, he played it at a breakneck tempo. Later on in his career, he played the introduction at a slow pace and then picked it up after the first chorus to a swing beat. Galper chooses to offer it somewhere in-between and it is filled with fluid introspection along with Johnson showing he is a commanding bassist, and John Bishop demonstrating he is a cleverly vibrant drummer. The trio's version of the Rollins' tune is a showpiece for the band's expressive command of pace, tone, and texture as well as being fluently captivating. This release is a deep dive into the rubato concept that the band plays with animation and uniqueness.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
**** - 4 Stars
Hal Galper's Rubato playing style, which evolved over a period of years before the pianist made it the centerpiece of his group's performances, has confounded some listeners with its complex, overlapping rhythms where the musicians seem to be playing independently of one another. Yet those who focus on the interaction will recognize that it is just another method of giving familiar songs a new dimension. Galper's trio with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop went into the studio without preconceived ideas about any of the pieces played, producing stunning results. George Gershwin's "Embraceable You" opens as an extended improvisation that barely hints at the theme until the performance is nearly over, with Galper's long, elaborate lines complemented by his rhythm section's off-center accompaniment. The remaining tracks are all jazz compositions. The late bassist Jimmy Garrison's "Ascendant" is not common fare, and opens by showcasing Johnson's terrific chops backed by Bishop's crisp brushwork, with the leader's darting piano added later. Galper worked with the late Sam Rivers in the '60s, so it is hardly surprising that the saxophonist's "Melancholia" has long been a part of his repertoire. In his notes he shares that his slower rendition of it was to convey his sense of loss after Rivers' death. The Rubato method works well in this time-tested piece, gradually building in intensity. The contributions of George Shearing have been somewhat overlooked, as though "Lullaby of Birdland" is his only composition that mattered. Galper reminds listeners that Shearing's intricate bop vehicle "Conception" remains a challenge to jazz soloists, and the trio's brilliant reconception of it extends its value into a new century. Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" has long been a jam session favorite, though the trio's approach slows it down in the introduction while adding to its drama and exotic air before launching into a wild interpretation which constantly shifts both tempo and focus on this jazz standard; Johnson's edgy arco bass adds a nice touch. Finally, Galper's "One Step Closer" blends the influence of Brazilian-like harmony with a cascading, cyclical theme into a majestic performance. Hal Galper's Rubato playing style isn't for new or casual listeners, it demands total focus to appreciate its nuances. But the rewards are infinite for jazz fans - **** - 4 Stars Audiophile Audition (Pierre Giroux)


"Hal Galper offers another solid recording to his lengthy discography."

Jazz piano vet and highly regarded educator, Hal Galper offers another solid recording to his lengthy discography. Galper has a very identifiable sound, not sure I can adequately compare him to anyone. The way in which he strings notes together, it always leaves me with the impression of falling down a flight of stairs without ever leaving my feet… a controlled cohesive randomness that’s just a wee bit dangerous and could prove fatal. With Jeff Johnson and John Bishop on bass and drums, Galper’s trio puts out a strong recording, and the Origin label continues to impress with their selection of talent. - Johan Powell, 17 Dots, emusic blog


"Galper's finest trio outing to date"

About eighty percent of the jazz piano players out there can fit into one of two schools: that of the introspective, harmonically rich Bill Evans mode; or the more percussive and gregarious Bud Powell bebop approach. There's also a small slice of the that pie that draws it primary inspiration from bright and splashy Art Tatum/Oscar Peterson pre-bop playing style, along with various subsets. Then there are those who take a foundation of one of those approaches and craft something quite unique, the path that Hal Galper has taken over the past decade.

A veteran of the groups of trumpeter Chet Baker and alto saxophonist Phil Woods, Galper can certainly claim a bebop foundation. But he has taken that foundation and flown free with it, as documented in his recent Origin CDs— Furious Rubato (2007) and E Pluribus Unum (2010)—where he explored the rubato style of playing, an approach that lends elasticity to time and tempo, and often engenders wildness and abandon.

Galper opens the set with Sammy Fain/Bob Hilliard's "Alice in Wonderland," a tune famously covered by Evans on his masterpiece Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside Records, 1961). This is not a floating Evans version, however; Galper and band mates—drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson—take the tune on a furiously tumultuous ride, full of urgency, pushing in the direction of flying out of control, without ever doing so.

Jule Styne's standard "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" is more restrained, a deeply ruminative and intimate conversation between Galper and Johnson that leads into the ominous Galper original, "Suspension," which puts the trio's edgy interactivity and ability to sustain a prickly momentum on full display. The title tune, another Galper original, has a swaying, fractured grandeur, an off-center, freewheeling beauty full of mystery and intrigue.

The trio wraps it up with "Be My Love," a film tune written for vocalist Mario Lanza. Bishop's drums sizzle and detonate unpredictably; Johnson's bass rumbles; and the piano notes careen with a scintillating, headlong freedom, closing out Galper's finest trio outing to date. - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


"Galper is a high-energy pianist; very contemporary and, in places, extremely percussive. He’s definitely on high beam with this trio."

I’m really delighted to see Galper return to a straight ahead orientation on a fresh, buoyant new release. Working with Seattle veterans Jeff Johnson, bass, and John Bishop, drums, Galper makes it clear that this is going to be a brisk outing from note one. And that first note brings in “Alice In Wonderland.” But this version, as opposed to most others, leaves no prisoners, as Galper and company go for broke. Having gotten out of the gate in a whirlwind, Galper also shows a penchant for ballads with “Babes of Cancun” and a stunning solo on “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry.” The pianist also takes charge on three of his own compositions, the best (and most lyrical) an off-beat sort of waltz, the title tune. And then what does Galper do? He reincarnates a Mario Lanza (!) opus from the early ‘50s. Granted, Lanza never approached an interpretation quite like Galper’s on “Be My Love,” but there it is in all it glory. Galper is a high-energy pianist; very contemporary and, in places, extremely percussive. He’s definitely on high beam with this trio. - George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon


""Galper is a pianist of astonishing power and creativity""

Recorded live at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, E Pluribus Unum is a true triumph of piano trio jazz. Backed by veteran bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, pianist Galper displays an incredible array of jaw-dropping keyboard skills as the trio performs four original compositions and three interesting covers. A stunning version of Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean" immediately catches attention with Galper's ferocious and highly inventive lines. Johnson and Bishop prove reliable foils for the pianist, and the energy generated by this combo is shocking. Songs like "Rapunzel's Luncheonette" and "Wandering Spirit" combine tenacious and inspired playing with occasional tender touches. Ellington's "Take the Coltrane" is burning hot, while "Invitation to Openness" and "Soliloquy" slow the pace slightly while still offering brilliant improvisation. Charlie Parker's "Constellation" ends things on a powerful note with Galper and crew still tearing things up. Galper is a pianist of astonishing power and creativity who has begun recently to receive considerably more attention, and hopefully this fine release will help bring his talent further to the forefront of the national/international audience. - Hal Galper, “E Pluribus Unum” by Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net


"'E Pluribus Unum' is another fine example of the veteran jazz pianist at the height of his powers""

A good candidate for JT's Overdue Ovation profile, masterful 72-year-old pianist Hal Galper has been an outstanding improviser on the scene since his apprenticeship with Chet Baker during the mid-'60s. He was a member of Cannonball Adderley's last quintet from 1973 to 1975 and in 1978 led a boppish quintet featuring Mike and Randy Brecker before becoming a key member of Phil Woods' group from 1981 to 1990. Over the past decade, he has evolved to a far more liberated, if provocative, place in the musical scheme of things. For adventurous listeners, that is a very good thing. On the outstanding and at times startling trio outing, recorded at the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival, Galper joins bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer (and Origin founder) John Bishop for stretched-out renditions of modern jazz staples, along with a few potent originals. On the Irving Berlin standard "How Deep Is the Ocean?," they barely allude to the familiar theme until the last minute of this urgent 9:50 romp. Galper tips
well into McCoy Tyner territory on his energized original "Rapunzel's Luncheonette," which also features stellar solos by Johnson and Bishop. The group turns in a swinging, freewheeling extrapolation on Duke Ellington's "Take the Coltrane," which heads toward the avant-garde with Galper flaunting Cecil-esque chops along the way. And they explore Charlie Parker's "Constellation" with renegade impunity, reinventing that bop anthem through a provocative free-jazz prism. Galper contributes three strong compositions in the rhapsodic "Wandering Spirit," the glistening rubato number "Invitation to Openness" and the gorgeous, cascading ballad "Soliloquy."A worthy follow-up to last year's daring 'Art-Work' (which featured Coltrane alumni Reggie Workman on bass Rashied Ali on drums), 'E Pluribus Unum' is another fine example of the veteran jazz pianist at the height of
his powers - and with no holds barred whatsoever. - Hal Galper, “E Pluribus Unum: Live in Seattle” by Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes


""Galper's music is demanding""

You won't be hearing Galper on your favorite easy listening station. The past few years, the pianist has used sonic density, astringent harmonies, massive technique and powerful swing to build intricate edifices. Galper's music is demanding beyond even the muscular bebop he played when he was the pianist in Phil Woods' quintet. The experienced listener who brings an open mind will be drawn in by a story teller creating layers of meaning with expressed and implied allusions to shared musical understanding. Bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, members of Galper's working trio, agree so thoroughly with his ethos that the three achieve the accord suggested by name of the album. Several hearings (recommended) disclose the depth of their relationship and interaction
In Charlie Parker's "Constellation," the trio's unity coalesces around swirls of sound spinning out of "I Got Rhythm" harmonies and suggesting the subject of the piece's title. "How Deep is the Ocean" builds--and builds--and builds--on Irving Berlin's melody and chord changes, taking both into realms of complexity that Berlin never imagined when he wrote the song in 1932. Duke Ellington's "Take the Coltrane" is as free as a blues can be and still be the blues. Of Galper's original compositions, the title of "Rapunzel's Luncheonette" stimulates nearly as many images as the piece itself. The modal energy in his left hand supports wild sorties by the right up and down the keyboard. If McCoy Tyner happens to hear the piece, I should imagine he'll be grinning. Dedicated to Michael Brecker, "Soliloquy" is the kind of ballad the late tenor saxophonist thrived on, blending lyricism, nostalgia and power. Johnson's solo is a high point of "Wandering Spirit," floating through a harmonic sequence that is less plain than it first seems, gathers intensity through Galper's solo, subsides during a superb Johnson solo, and wanders away on Bishop's cymbal splashes. "Invitation to Openness" suggests spontaneous mutual invention, with lines from the three musicians swimming and leaping together like dolphins at play - Hal Galper, “E Pluribus Unum” by Doug Ramsey, Rifftides


""Galper taking his artistry to a new level.""

Pianist Hal Galper began his journey into "rubato" playing early on in the new millennium, after a quite vibrant career in the mainstream, playing and recording with the likes of all-star alto saxophonists Phil Woods and Cannonball Adderley, legendary trumpeter Chet Baker and guitarist John Scofield. It hasn't always been a smooth ride. At a show with guitarist John Stowell at Carlsbad, California's Museum of Making Music back in 2007, drawing a rather conservative crowd—a group of listeners that was expecting, perhaps, a traditional approach to the standards—grumblings could be heard in the folding chaired audience, hushed comments like, "Why doesn't he play "How Deep is the Ocean" straight? I almost couldn't recognize it." The term "rubato" refers to a flexibility in approach to tempo, the speeding up or slowing down of the rhythm at the artists' discretion. Nobody does this quite as furiously as Hal Galper, and with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, he has hooked up with two like-minded compatriots. Previous Galper recordings in this style include Agents of Change (Fabola Records, 2006), Furious Rubato (Origin Records, 2007), and Art-Work (Origin Records, 2009). All of these are exciting musical adventures, but E Pluribus Unum—with, again, Johnson and Bishop—is the most electrifying of the batch, due certainly to the on-the-edge freshness and vitality of the sound's live aspect. Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean" opens the show, and it is a turbulent sea, wind whipped and wildly churning. The trio plays with a sense of abandon, but the thread of the familiar melody doesn't break. Other non-originals include a particularly prickly version of Duke Ellington's "Take the Coltrane," and a calamitous reading of Charlie Parker's "Constellation" to close the show. In between, Galper includes four tunes from his own pen, starting with the searing, headlong "Rapunzel's Luncheonette," the reflective but still energetic "Wandering Spirit," and the aptly-titled "Invitation to Openness." The appreciative crowd, the night of this recording at the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival, accepted that invitation, and E Pluribus Unum permanently documents Galper taking his artistry to a new level. - Hal Galper, “E Pluribus Unum” by Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


""An excellent recording of a fun and energetic evening""

Hal Galper has often worked best with small bands. He flourishes when working with a simple trio of piano, with drum and bass, especially in the last few decades. On his latest release with Origin E Pluribus Unum: Live In Seattle he reunites with bassist Jeff Johnson from 2006’s Furious Rubato and brings in drummer John Bishop for a wonderful night including several compositions by Galper and a few delightful covers.Irving Berlin’s How Deep Is The Ocean opens the album, and Galper brings a welcome theatricality to the number. His playing is jubilant, criss-crossing over various tempos and dynamics with a genuine pleasure that will bring a smile to the listener’s face. The rhythm section is captured well in the live recording, with a rich, full low-end sound. Galper’s compositions like Rapunzel’s Luncheonette and Wandering Spirit are more complex workouts for the band, and while they for the most part rise to the occasion they occasionally falter. Spirit is stronger than Luncheonette, whose looser, more frenetic be-bop sound sometimes becomes a bit of a muddle. Spirit elicits more lyrical playing from Galper, suiting both him and his band. Galper’s flourishes around the two and a half minute mark are particularly effervescent. The band returns to the jazz songbook with Ellington’s Take the Coltrane. Galper comes down lighter on the keys here, and returns to the more playful mood of the first track. What in many artists would be showboating is an absolute pleasure from a player of the caliber and experience of Galper, and Pluribus is at its best when he is cutting loose and having a good time.The album closes with another cover, this time Charlie Parker’s Constellation. All the different elements of the album come together perfectly for this last track. Galper jumps into a somewhat free jazz playing style, but this time the band is in lock step with him, keeping the dynamics rich and slightly strange, in keeping with the otherworldly subject matter of the composition. An excellent recording of a fun and energetic evening, E Pluribus Unum is, out of the many albums jazz fans desire, one well worth purchasing. - Hal Galper, “E Pluribus Unum” by Ethan Krow, Audiophile Audition


"Art-Work"

“Clearly in the tradition, his keyboard attack is nevertheless somehow brazen, bold and certain..." -Cadence. - Cadence Magazine


"Pianist successfully charts new course"

Veteran pianist Hal Galper‘s “Agents Of Change” is an intense, uncompromising example of peerless free playing and collective improvisation......
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Six years ago the pianist broke up his own successful, critically acclaimed trio, and this recently released CD featuring bassist Tony Marino and drummer Billy Mintz is the first recorded evidence of his new direction. It features three of Galper’s surprise-filled originals, a gorgeous reading of Wayne Shorter’s E.S.P. and daring reinventions of “Dear Old Stockholm,” “How Deep Is The Ocean,” and “On Green Dolphin Street.” It’s a powerful statement by an underated jazz genius. - Times Colonist: Joseph Blake


"Furious Rubato"

Hal Galper’s aptly named Furious Rubato, finds the pianist opening the listener’s ears by stretching the tempo of the tunes and frequently seeming to be playing independently of his rhythm section without ever losing sight of the harmony within each song, approaching free jazz but never abandoning post-bop. He’s accompanied by bassist Jeff Johnson (who has worked with Galper regularly in the past) and drummer John Bishop, both of whom excel in meeting the pianist’s demands.

The fireworks start with his avalanche-like introduction to Miles Davis’ “Milestones” (the song first recorded for Savoy, not the later one for Columbia that’s also known as “Miles”), the piece cooling slightly as Galper steps back to feature Johnson then rekindling the fire in his exchanges with Bishop. He recasts John Coltrane’s “Naima” by incorporating unexpected space between its chords, while his turbulent reworking of Davis’ “Miles Ahead” also reveals new possibilities. Galper’s originals are no less demanding, highlighted by his off-center ballad “Valse Cool” and intense “Chromatic Fantasy.” Johnson contributes “Zen,” which initially sounds like a meditation but builds to a dramatic climax. Hardly a typical jazz piano trio session, this fascinating music is well worth exploring. - Ken Dryden, AllAboutJazz.com


"Furious Rubato"

thought I knew something about Hal Galper. I did not know Hal Galper at all. Hal Galper has evolved.

In the liner notes he says that he has become fascinated with rubato-bending and shaping tempo to enhance expression. He has been practicing "sporadically at ... unpredictable times of the day or night" for six years, exploring this concept. Often, for artists, specific devices are less important in themselves than as paths to new creativity. Galper's investigation of rubato has liberated his piano trio, sprung it loose from time. This album contains the most complex, daring, exhilarating music of Galper's career.

On the opening "Milestones," the famous tune is there, but only one among many huge swirling forms. Galper says the piece is still "in tempo but not the basic tempo." It surges and recedes in free form, impossible to anticipate yet coherent in its own logic. "Naima" is revealed with such slow yearning it sometimes nearly dies away but then flows out again. "Miles Ahead" is another galaxy containing the song somewhere among all the other notes like stars.

One reason this project is successful is that bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop respond so creatively to the challenge of playing in "tempo but not the basic tempo."

The achievement of Furious Rubato is that it sounds like nothing else yet it makes sense.

- Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes,


"Furious Rubato"

Hal Galper’s aptly named Furious Rubato, finds the pianist opening the listener’s ears by stretching the tempo of the tunes and frequently seeming to be playing independently of his rhythm section without ever losing sight of the harmony within each song, approaching free jazz but never abandoning post-bop. He’s accompanied by bassist Jeff Johnson (who has worked with Galper regularly in the past) and drummer John Bishop, both of whom excel in meeting the pianist’s demands.

The fireworks start with his avalanche-like introduction to Miles Davis’ “Milestones” (the song first recorded for Savoy, not the later one for Columbia that’s also known as “Miles”), the piece cooling slightly as Galper steps back to feature Johnson then rekindling the fire in his exchanges with Bishop. He recasts John Coltrane’s “Naima” by incorporating unexpected space between its chords, while his turbulent reworking of Davis’ “Miles Ahead” also reveals new possibilities. Galper’s originals are no less demanding, highlighted by his off-center ballad “Valse Cool” and intense “Chromatic Fantasy.” Johnson contributes “Zen,” which initially sounds like a meditation but builds to a dramatic climax. Hardly a typical jazz piano trio session, this fascinating music is well worth exploring. - Ken Dryden, AllAboutJazz.com


"Furious Rubato"

Pianist Hal Galper spent a big part of his career working with some of the giants of the mainstream, players like trumpeter Chet Baker, alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, guitar master John Scofield and bop alto sax legend Phil Woods. With his Agents of Change (Fabola Records, 2006), a trio outing with drummer Billy Mintz and bassist Tony Marino, he moved out of the familiar flow to explore the "rubato style" of playing, an open, circular approach to time and melody.

On Furious Rubato he forges ahead with that exploratory process, again in the trio setting, enlisting bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop to round out his sound.

From the first cut, Miles Davis' "Milestones," there's a feeling of leaving a comfort zone behind and embracing that change with a familiar/foreign dynamic. The melody remains recognizable, but Galper stretches it and bends it around, revealing new shades and shapes of beauty inside the tune. The also familiar John Coltrane composition, "Naima," gets a similar treatment, as does another Miles Davis tune, "Miles Ahead." Also included are four Galper originals and one by Johnson, "Zen."

Galper's succinctly phrased, percussive and sometimes brittle piano style brings bop pioneer Bud Powell to mind. His up-tempo "Figurine" has a tumbling water vibe, and some compellingly off-kilter comping behind Jeff Johnson's rumbling bass solo. The ten minute-plus Galper original, "Valse Cool," has a classic-sounding melody, like something from The Great American Songbook getting stretched and compressed, then stretched anew.

An innovative direction, Furious Rubato takes a few spins to assimilate, but they are spins well worth the effort. It's a listening experience that pushes the boundaries of the comfort zone, and beautifully so.

- Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


"Furious Rubato"

Pianist Hal Galper spent a big part of his career working with some of the giants of the mainstream, players like trumpeter Chet Baker, alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, guitar master John Scofield and bop alto sax legend Phil Woods. With his Agents of Change (Fabola Records, 2006), a trio outing with drummer Billy Mintz and bassist Tony Marino, he moved out of the familiar flow to explore the "rubato style" of playing, an open, circular approach to time and melody.

On Furious Rubato he forges ahead with that exploratory process, again in the trio setting, enlisting bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop to round out his sound.

From the first cut, Miles Davis' "Milestones," there's a feeling of leaving a comfort zone behind and embracing that change with a familiar/foreign dynamic. The melody remains recognizable, but Galper stretches it and bends it around, revealing new shades and shapes of beauty inside the tune. The also familiar John Coltrane composition, "Naima," gets a similar treatment, as does another Miles Davis tune, "Miles Ahead." Also included are four Galper originals and one by Johnson, "Zen."

Galper's succinctly phrased, percussive and sometimes brittle piano style brings bop pioneer Bud Powell to mind. His up-tempo "Figurine" has a tumbling water vibe, and some compellingly off-kilter comping behind Jeff Johnson's rumbling bass solo. The ten minute-plus Galper original, "Valse Cool," has a classic-sounding melody, like something from The Great American Songbook getting stretched and compressed, then stretched anew.

An innovative direction, Furious Rubato takes a few spins to assimilate, but they are spins well worth the effort. It's a listening experience that pushes the boundaries of the comfort zone, and beautifully so.

- Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


"Agents Of Change"

Pianist Hal Galper spent most of the '80s playing in Phil Woods' quintet, and he spent three years on the road with Cannonball Adderley. He's also worked with Chet Baker and Stan Getz, and he cites bop pioneer Bud Powell as a major influence; so you might expect on his latest offering, the piano trio Agents of Change, some straightahead bebop sounds. But there's a surprise in store: a change.

Playing in a “rubato” style, immersing himself in some time-tested standards and three of his own compositions, Galper and company stretch out in the direction of freedom on some deep explorations of familiar melodies. Agents of Change is a very fine and quite unique piano trio outing.

The company Galper keeps here tells a part of the story: bassist Tony Marino was recently heard on Ron Thomas' fluid and exploratory set Doloroso (Art of Life, 2006); drummer Billy Mintz shined on the marvelous free outing Beautiful You (Origin, 2004). On well-known tunes like “On Green Dolphin Street” and “How Deep is the Ocean,” the trio delves deep, gets to the core, and then stretches it out. The disc opens with the familiar “E.S.P.,” from the pen of Wayne Shorter, beginning in a recognizable mode before the trio moves in the direction of freedom.

The Miles Davis/John Coltrane vehicle “Dear Old Stockholm” is a highlight. The musicians play out the gorgeous melody with a free flowing intensity, turning it into a personal exploration without ever losing the essense of the tune. On Irving Berlin's “How Deep is the Ocean,” they step lightly and abstractly into the melody, then click into a bouncy groove, sounding almost straightahead. Galper's “Waiting for Chet,” a lovely eleven-minute rumination on his old bandmate, trumpeter Chet Baker, wanders introspectively. - By Dan McClenaghan: AAJ.com


"Agents Of Change"

Pianist Hal Galper spent most of the '80s playing in Phil Woods' quintet, and he spent three years on the road with Cannonball Adderley. He's also worked with Chet Baker and Stan Getz, and he cites bop pioneer Bud Powell as a major influence; so you might expect on his latest offering, the piano trio Agents of Change, some straightahead bebop sounds. But there's a surprise in store: a change.

Playing in a “rubato” style, immersing himself in some time-tested standards and three of his own compositions, Galper and company stretch out in the direction of freedom on some deep explorations of familiar melodies. Agents of Change is a very fine and quite unique piano trio outing.

The company Galper keeps here tells a part of the story: bassist Tony Marino was recently heard on Ron Thomas' fluid and exploratory set Doloroso (Art of Life, 2006); drummer Billy Mintz shined on the marvelous free outing Beautiful You (Origin, 2004). On well-known tunes like “On Green Dolphin Street” and “How Deep is the Ocean,” the trio delves deep, gets to the core, and then stretches it out. The disc opens with the familiar “E.S.P.,” from the pen of Wayne Shorter, beginning in a recognizable mode before the trio moves in the direction of freedom.

The Miles Davis/John Coltrane vehicle “Dear Old Stockholm” is a highlight. The musicians play out the gorgeous melody with a free flowing intensity, turning it into a personal exploration without ever losing the essense of the tune. On Irving Berlin's “How Deep is the Ocean,” they step lightly and abstractly into the melody, then click into a bouncy groove, sounding almost straightahead. Galper's “Waiting for Chet,” a lovely eleven-minute rumination on his old bandmate, trumpeter Chet Baker, wanders introspectively. - By Dan McClenaghan: AAJ.com


"Agents Of Change"

Media name: D. Oscar Groomes

Pianist Hal Galper leads a trio with Tony Marino (b) and Billy Mintz (d). Each of them gets an opportunity to shine on the seven tunes a mixture of uniquely arranged standards and originals. It is bop with a free spirit! We really liked the bass solo on "Liquid Audio" and Hal's lengthy abstract introduction on "Waiting For Chet". Both are Galper compositions that are fresh and invigorating. "Dear Old Stockholm" and "On Green Dolphin Street" are fine examples of the wonderful interplay between Galper and Marino. Mintz not only keeps the time but also injects accents to color the music and make the arrangements unique. - D. Oscar Groomes, O\'s Place Jazz Magazine


"Agents Of Change"

Media name: D. Oscar Groomes

Pianist Hal Galper leads a trio with Tony Marino (b) and Billy Mintz (d). Each of them gets an opportunity to shine on the seven tunes a mixture of uniquely arranged standards and originals. It is bop with a free spirit! We really liked the bass solo on "Liquid Audio" and Hal's lengthy abstract introduction on "Waiting For Chet". Both are Galper compositions that are fresh and invigorating. "Dear Old Stockholm" and "On Green Dolphin Street" are fine examples of the wonderful interplay between Galper and Marino. Mintz not only keeps the time but also injects accents to color the music and make the arrangements unique. - D. Oscar Groomes, O\'s Place Jazz Magazine


Discography

On Origin Records:

Furious Rubato
Art-Work
E Pluribus Unum
Trip The Light Fantastic
Airegin Revisited
O's Time      

-------------------------------
Maybeck Duets w/ Hal Galper & Jeff Johnson
Fugue State
The Guerilla Band
Wild Bird
Inner Journey
Reach Out
Now Hear This
Speak With A Single Voice
Live At Vartan Jazz
At The Cafe De Copains
Children Of The Night
Lets Call This That
Portrait
Live At Maybeck Hall
Invitation To A Concert
Redux '78
Agents Of Change
Ivory Forest
Dreamsville
Naturally
Rebop
Just Us
Emergence
Tippin
Live At Port Townsend
Agents Of Change
Desire
Art-Work

-----------------------------
WITH CHET BAKER:
The Most Important Album Of 1964-65
Baby Breeze
Live At Fat Tuesday's
With Cannonball Adderley
---------------------------------
WITH CANNONBALL ADDERLEY:
Inside Straight
Love, Sex, And The Zodiac
Pyramid
-------------------------------
WITH NAT ADDERLEY:
Double Exposure
------------------------------
WITH PHIL WOODS:
Birds Of A Feather
Antilles
Live At The Vanguard
Integrity
Red Records
Heaven
Blackhawk
The Best Of Phil Woods
Concord
Bop Stew
Evolution
Boquet
Flash
All Birds Children
Phil Woods Quintet Meets Dizzy Gillespie
Timeless
It Happened In Pescara
------------------------------
WITH OTHERS:
Carlo Atti & The Hal Galper Trio
Sweet Beat Blues
Bobby Hutcherson - Harold Land, Live At The Festival
John Scofield, Roughhouse
Franco Ambrosetti, Heartbop
Lee Konitz, Windows
Tom Harrell, Open Air
Randy Becker, Score
Sam Rivers
A New Conception, Blue Note
Pete Yellen, It's The Right Thing
Bill Goodwin, No Method
Saxomania, Airegin
Rick Stone, Blues For Nobody
Rossler/Goos Band
First Berklee School Album
Putte Wickman & The Hal Galper Trio
---------------------------------------
REISSUES:
Phil Woods Quartet - Quintet, 20th Anniversary Set
Sam Rivers, A New Conception
Hal Galper, Children Of The Night
Phil Woods, Heaven
Chet Baker Sings And Play
Chet Baker, Baby Breeze
Hal Galper, Ivory Forest
Hal Galper, Dreamsville
Hal Galper, Just Us
Hal Galper, Rebop
Hal Galper, Naturally
Hal Galper, Reunion
Hal Galper, Ivory Forest
Hal Galper, Now Hear This
Putte Wickman & The Hal Galper Trio, Miss Oedipus
Hal Galper, The Guerrila Band
Hal Galper, Wild Bird
Chet Baker, Compact Jazz
Phil Woods, Dizzy Gillespie Meets the Phil Woods Quintet
Hal Galper (Maybeck)
The Music of Thelonious Monk: Jazz Piano Essentials

Photos

Bio

Galper's 21st century series of trio albums for Origin Records incorporates his development of 'Rubato' playing as a means of melding melodic lyricism with the rhythmic excitement and 'sound of surprise' of the bebop tradition.

The adventurousness and technical brilliance of Hal Galper's artistry have made him one of the busiest and most admired pianists in modern jazz. Here are recent critical comments on recordings by his trio with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop:

'Central to the group's approach is the releasing of inhibitions and the willingness to embrace and follow the paths spontaneity presents. Each player simultaneously fills the soloist and accompanist roles.' 'Downbeat

'Galper sometimes opts for the fluid, lyrical sensibility popularized by stylists like Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau. But on other occasions he works in an edgier mode. His trio'is superbly interactive.' 'Jazz Times

Galper's discography includes 99 albums, 32 of them under his leadership. He is a leader not only as a performer but also as an educator, with emphasis on theory, performance and the worldly side of music as a profession. Hal recently finished a 15 year stint teaching at Purchase Conservatory maintaining his 25 year position at the New School Of Jazz And Contemporary Music. He is a pioneer in one-on-one teaching via the internet. His best selling theory of Forward Motion, was the first interactive E-book in which its more than 300 musical examples could be played in a computer browser. It offers insights into the workings of melodies, secrets of phrasing and ways of practicing to enhance jazz performance. Both the E-book and the hard cover edition are available at www.halgalper.com.

A student of the piano from the age of six, Galper entered the Berklee School of Music in Boston on a scholarship in 1955 and studied technique with the famous Madam Chaloff. He quickly gravitated to the city's jazz clubs, supplementing his formal Berklee training by studying the performances of such Boston stalwarts as Jaki Byard, Sam Rivers and Alan Dawson. It wasn't long before Galper had soaked up enough practical jazz knowledge that he was employed as house pianist at The Stables, Lennie's On The Turnpike and Connelly's, leading Boston jazz emporiums.

Beginning his professional career in a three-year stint with trumpeter Chet Baker, he went on to be an integral part of the bands of Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods. He also worked with Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz and Roy Eldridge, among many major jazz figures. In the 1970s his first group as a leader included Randy and Michael Brecker. Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Galper mapped out a plan that included trumpeter Randy Brecker, his saxophonist brother Michael, bassist Wayne Dockery and drummer Billy Hart. The new Hal Galper Quintet debuted at Sweet Basil in New York's Greenwich Village, eventually recording four albums including Reach Out, Speak With a Single Voice, Children Of The Night and Redux 78.

JOHN BISHOP

One of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for over 25 years, John Bishop's drumming has complemented the performances of jazz greats Bobby McFerrin, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, George Cables, Kenny Werner, Eddie Daniels, Joanne Brackeen, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Kenny Rankin and countless others. He's appeared on over 75 albums & videos with projects including: CD sessions with Rudy Van Gelder, Ernie Watts, Don Sickler & Teo Macero; a Grammy nominated CD with Mark Murphy for RCA; educational videos for REH/Warner Bros., documentaries for PBS,and recently recorded tracks for "Drumcore," (www.drumcore.com) a library of drum tracks by "world-class drummers."

JEFF JOHNSON

Born In Minneapolis, Jeff Johnson ("Free" to some of his colleagues) left at age 20, spending time in Philadelphia and New York, and has worked with a veritable who's who of great jazz musicians such as Philly Joe Jones, Charlie Rouse, Barney Kessel, Chet Baker, Lew Tabackin, Eddie Daniels, Mark Murphy, Joanne Brackeen, Julian Priester, Jay Clayton, Marlena Shaw, Billy Hart, Annie Ross, George Cables, Bud Shank, Claudio Roditti, Ernestine Anderson, and Michael Wolfe, to name just a few. Jeff has toured the United States and Europe several times with Galper's groupings, playing major venues, festivals, and schools. 

Band Members