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Hal Galper has had a long, distinguished career as a jazz pianist, bandleader, composer and educator. While the pianist has made a flurry of recordings over the past few years, record labels are beginning to mine the wealth of material he produced during the '=1970s. Now Hear This was first issued by Enja in 1977 and subsequently reissued in its original form, though this edition sports a redesigned cover and a bonus track. Galper's inspired quartet includes trumpeter Terumasa Hino
. The title track, which was recorded by its composer with a different quintet during the same decade, benefits from the stripped-down quartet and a decent piano (something not available for the live Century LP Speak With a Single Voice (1978)and reissued as the Double Time CD Children of the Night).
"Now Hear This" is one of Galper's most infectious works, as the pianist launches into a furious solo, with Hino's contribution followed by Williams' simmering break. The playful "Red Eye Special" suggests a bit of McCoy Tyner
's influence, punctuated by Hino's searing trumpet. Galper builds "First Song of the Day" upon a simple repeated riff, intermingling thunderous chords and lightning runs in his solo, while both Hino's and McBee's features are equally full of fire. This expanded reissue includes a previously unreleased alternate take of it, which is a bit shorter but no less intense than the master. In addition to Galper's five originals, he includes a sauntering, sassy interpretation of Thelonious Monk