For many an ivory-tickler, the piano trio is the perfect format for supper club-appropriate sashays through standards, but Michael Gallant
doesn't think that way; he'd rather put a little power, pizzazz and punch into the piano trio, using it as a springboard to launch his oft-excitable tunes.
Gallant is a talented multi-tasker who served as an editor for Keyboard
magazine, contributes articles to Downbeat
, scores videos for various clients like the Anti-Defamation League, and gigs regularly, so it should come as no surprise that he multi-tasks a bit here; piano and electric piano are both part of this package and, while Gallant often moves back and forth between them within a song, he does so with ease; Completely
resides in the overdub-free zone.
Originals dominate the proceedings here, with Seattle grunge giant Pearl Jam
's "Go" being the only cover, and that's just fine; Gallant and his trio mates, Chris Infusino on drums and the ever-stunning Linda May Han Oh
on bass, can easily hold a listener's attention with these originals. The album begins with "Greens," which balances a heavy-handed beat on the bottom with more dexterous and bluesy piano on top, and the energy remains high through the follow-up"Roundabout." The spotlight turns to Gallant for the short and mostly mellow "Lightbulb," but raw energy takes over on "Go." Gallant then visits Argentina by way of New York on "Cornelia Street Tango," which features a winner of a solo from Oh. He continues by mixing the slowly rocking with the reflective on "Problem With The Game," and gets down to business on the firm-and-funky "The Real Maria." His many and varied talents come to the fore during these tracks and the three remaining numbers that follow them.
Shifting moods, dynamics and focal points abound throughout Completely
, but some things remain the same: motion, commitment to the groove, and a passion for music pour forth from this powerful piano trio.
Greens; Roundabout; Lightbulb; Go; Cornelia Street Tango; Problem Withe the Game; The Real Maria; Completely; Love You Better; Candlelight.
Michael Gallant: acoustic and electric pianos; Linda Oh: acoustic and electric bass; Chris Infusino: drums.