The “Ganelin Trio” were among the first of the new wave or new jazz bands to perform behind the Iron Curtain while also attaining considerable attention on these shores, back in the early 1980’s. Continuing with Leo Records’ new batch of previously unreleased or reissued – with bonus tracks material on the label titled, “Golden Years of New Jazz”, is the Ganelin Trio’s Con Affetto which was recorded live in Moscow, 1983 and released here for the first time.
The driving force behind this recording is the fifty-seven minute and fairly amazing piece titled, “Semplice”. Here, the Trio is a mini-orchestra as they employ ethnic percussion instruments, a vast array of woodwinds, horns and Casio electronic keyboards. This piece commences with a clattering of small percussion instruments while evolving into various movements via a climactic and budding flow - offering disparate themes and tonalities aided by an abundance of meaningful dialogue. The Trio alternate instruments as if this were a Broadway play where three actors double up and multitask roles or more appropriately, a loosely based theatrical troupe. It doesn’t end there. This composition progresses into a series of structured motifs, as the band begin to develop rich melodies featuring memorable hooks and at various junctures elicit memories of the 80’s European Prog-Rock movement. “Semplice” is a brilliant piece of work as this Trio seemingly start with nothing yet gravitate towards complex, innovative ideas while pulling it all together in surprising fashion. – These gentlemen were subsequently invited back for three encores.
Simply put Con Affetto is a remarkable recording and if you seldom had the opportunity to hear this legendary band......now is the time! Highly Recommended! * * * * 1/2
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.