Ray Gallon is a pianist with a rich and complex musical vocabulary. In the company of bassist Ron Carter and percussionist Lewis Nash, he has recorded an album that is filled with technical proficiency and emotional depth as well as a unique artistic voice. Adding to the enjoyment is the sophistication of the recording, which was made at the Van Gelder Recording Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, under engineer Maureen Sickler.
This nine-track session is a combination of Gallon originals along with several jazz and popular standards beginning with the Duke Ellington classic "Drop Me Off In Harlem." Gallon fills the chart in this bright swinger with his buoyant, unhurried playing. Carter and Nash show they are not just along for the ride but engaged by the music's dynamic quality. The first of several Gallon originals is "Acting Up." This is a contrafact based on "Lullaby of Rhythm." Gallon brings his original and creative approach to rhythm in an up-tempo arrangement. When Carter begins his walking solo, Gallon's send-off is John Lewis's " Golden Striker" motif as an acknowledgement to his mentor.
" Two Track Mind" harkens back to Gallon's teenage years playing in a blues band, as well as inspiration from the likes of Thelonious Monk, Ray Bryant and Sonny Clark, each of whom was well versed in the blues. Gallon locks into a sinewy blues groove before giving way to Carter's technical fluency and cleanly dusted tone. Nash then follows with a brush attack that is both buoyant and tonally complex before Gallon takes the number out.
The Miles Davis composition "Nardis" fits well with Gallon's deep musical understanding and thoughtful approach. The moody arrangement engages each trio member as the song structure has plenty of interior room to provide for their improvisations. Another Gallon original is "Pins and Needles," a contrafact based on the torch singer Julie London's popular hit "Cry Me A River." This tricky swinger features a loping single-note lower register solo from Gallon, leading into a versatile drum break by Nash.
The closing track is a 1938 popular song and jazz standard, "Old Folks." In this bossa nova-themed interpretation, the trio maintains its high standard of artistry. Gallon continues demonstrating that he is a pianist committed to the art of discovery, while Carter delivers his solo with sweeping agility. The album showcases a trio that plays transparently and clearly, where every note means something.
Drop Me Off In Harlem; Acting Up; Zombette; Two Track Mind; Nardis; Pins And Needles; If I
Had You; Monkey Bars; Old Folks.
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