Although pianist Ray Gallon has been part of the jazz scene for many years, both as a player (with Ron Carter, Art Farmer, Grady Tate) and educator (City College Of New York), Make Your Move is his first release as a leader. Supported by a rhythm section of bassist David Wong and the impeccable drummer Kenny Washington, Gallon swaggers through a selection of his own compositions along with a couple of well-known standards.
Starting off with "Kitty Paws," Gallon has arranged the composition in a way which makes it musically meaningful and expressive. The introduction features a unison bass and piano interlude which is buoyant, and sets the pace for the balance of the number. Gallon clearly has tons of technique with an assertive touch. For a delightful change of pace, "Craw Daddy" its the bill. This is a blues-themed number with Gallon's piano bubbling along with warmth and swing. Bassist David Wong delivers a strong solo filled with a deep-toned rhythmic flow.
The first of the two standards is " I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance" which was written by Victor Young and Ned Washington. It was first recorded in 1932 by Bing Crosby, and has been covered by numerous jazz and popular artists since then. Gallon's arrangement shows an ingenious harmonic line; coupled with his quietness of playing, it gives the number a striking enigmatic quality. The other standard is the Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach number "Yesterdays" which was written for the 1933 musical Roberta, in which Bob Hope had a featured role. Gallon and the band give the composition a frothy Latin twist with Washington demonstrating that he is an endlessly captivating drummer.
One of Gallon's teachers was the esteemed pianist Hank Jones. As an acknowledgement of these lessons, Gallon wrote "Hanks A Lot." The number bounces along under Gallon's crisp piano playing. The arrangement is structured to provide space for Wong to show that he is an authoritative instrumentalist. The final and title track is another Gallon original "Make Your Move." The number has a bustling and tuneful brand of swing, and is anchored by Gallon's strong lyrical playing. There is some assertive interplay between Gallon and Washington which makes it clear he is a subtly dynamic drummer.
This is an interesting debut recording from an impressive pianist.
Kitty Paws; Out Of Whack; Craw Daddy; Harm's Way; Back To The Wall; I Don't Stand A Ghost
Of A Chance; That's The Question; Hank's A Lot; Yesterdays; Plus One; Make Your Move