Richard Galliano is one of the premier accordionists in the world and since the passing of Astor Piazzolla, Galliano perhaps holds the virtual throne or denotes the measuring stick for those wishing to integrate this instrument into various musical art forms. Known for his work with jazz icons such as Chet Baker, Ron Carter, Toots Thielemans and many others, Galliano’s new release titled, Passatori performed with a string orchestra represents something of a milestone for this highly esteemed artist. Galliano’s first recording with strings would theoretically indicate a congenial atmosphere or something that would signify a natural coexistence and as some us might surmise, this alliance works rather well. Here, along with “Orchestra Della Toscana”, Galliano’s fleet-fingered lines and sharply resonant phrasing intermingled with dashes of tango, jazz and classical themes provide perpetual motion from beginning to end. Besides spirited renditions of Astor Piazzolla compositions, Galliano’s compositions and orchestrations elicit lighthearted imagery through abundant doses of melody and harmonious yet often cunning interplay with the string orchestra.
In many instances, this writer could not help but think of sitting at a cafe’ in Rome or walking the streets of Paris yet during some interludes there are passages or motifs that seem a bit too sugary or superficial. These minor shortcomings at times reduce certain sequences into prosaic or humdrum events. However, a few of these lulls rapidly transgress into meaningful passages featuring stirring lines and astute unison choruses and for all of it’s innocence and splendor, Passatori is an engaging experience. * * * 1/2
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