An inventive and adventurous keyboard player and composer, Elliot Galvin
is active in Britain's jazz and contemporary-classical worlds. He is making a strong impression on the former. Galvin is a member of the Mercury Music Prize-nominated band Dinosaur
, whose Wonder Trail
(Edition) was among the highlights of 2018. His duo album Ex Nihilo
(ByrdOut), made with London alternative jazz
scene luminary, tenor saxophonist Binker Golding
, was a highlight of 2019.
On those albums, Galvin plays synths and electric keyboards, and the jams are resoundingly kicked out. On Live In Paris At Fondation Louis Vuitton
, he plays acoustic piano, as he did on the excellent piano-trio disc Modern Times
(Edition, 2019). The new album is an improvised solo performance, recorded in concert in spring 2018. Each of the six tracks is complete in and of itself. Galvin focuses mainly on the keyboard but on the final track also plays the strings directly with his fingers. Live In Paris
is more contemporary classical than jazz. Cerebral and virtuosic, it also has soul and it was created in the moment, but neither of those qualities are exclusive to jazz. One track, "For J.S.," is clearly inspired by Bach, by all accounts an assured improviser. Bach can readily be made to swing, but Galvin is no Jacques Loussier and does not swing him. Ultimately, it is hard to define jazz, but you know it when you hear it and you do not hear much of it here. What you do hear is vivid and absorbing music which should appeal to listeners with open ears on both sides of the jazz and contemporary-classical border.
It is, perhaps, significant that in his liner note, Galvin acknowledges Craig Taborn
, who followed him onstage at Fondation Louis Vuitton, as a "constant source of inspiration." For, like Galvin, Taborn is adept on both acoustic and electric keyboards and across a range of contemporary classical and jazz.