With his distinctive, continental European flavor, Richard Galliano brings the accordion into jazz’s broad path. In his solo performances can be heard echoes of Django, Stéphane, and hundreds of other like-minded, globetrotting artists. The accordionist’s own compositions swing with an enduring jazz sensibility, while his creative improvisations pull from eclectic global resources. When he’s immersed in his own roots, such as on “French Touch,” it’s easy for the listener to drown himself in the scenery.
Galliano’s three-disc collection begins with a solo album recorded at the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival in 1998. Italian lyricism, French cabaret scenes, American jazz licks and Argentine tango moods color the session with accuracy. The accordionist’s rhythmic syncopation and percussive articulation drive his performance with a bright spirit.
The duo album with clarinetist/saxophonist Michel Portal was recorded earlier in 1998 at the NDR radio studios in Hamburg. Again, there was a “live” audience to witness this collaboration and to spur the artists on. Their program relies heavily on tango moods and the music of Astor Piazzolla & Hermeto Pascoal. Passions run high and the duo weaves new, creative ideas into their performance.
With Daniel Humair and Jean-François Jenny-Clark at the 1996 Montreux Jazz Festival, Galliano moves further into the jazz idiom. Swinging his accordion alongside walking bass and ride cymbal brings a special flavor to Galliano’s performance. With the trio we find him leaning occasionally towards a New Orleans Cajun air. Virtuosity takes a back seat to intended impressions and moods. Exotic music from other geographical areas, such as North Africa, reminds us just how far the jazz paintbrush extends. From Satch and Duke to Miles and beyond, the trio brought something very special to the annual festival. Also virtuosos on their instruments, bassist and drummer solo as well, and prove that they’re one of the best rhythm teams in the world.
Richard Galliano loves to base his work on a blazing-fast waltz time or a strutting tango rhythm. His blue-collar work ethic places him among the best in the world on the instrument. But because of the unique impression associated with the accordion, Galliano wisely opts to program his performances around the sounds of France, Italy, North Africa and Argentina – performed with a powerful jazz sensibility.
Personnel: Richard Galliano- accordion; Michel Portal- clarinet, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Jean-Fran