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Chris Gall: Room Of Silence

Don Phipps By

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Chris Gall's Room of Silence shines best on its original material, and it's a good thing since the album has ten originals and four covers. In keeping with his classical foundation, Gall's compositions feel like ballets. One can picture dancers stepping gently along a brook, underneath a late-afternoon sky on a fall day in Vermont. Like sugar and red maples swaying in a cool breeze, Gall's music weaves back and forth and stretches out in dark reds, oranges, and yellows.

Listening to the way Gall caresses the keys, his soft poetic touch keeps things simple and moving. Think Erik Satie. Transitions are drawn in subtlety. Nothing is rushed. Everything has its time. As a result, the album is full of beauty aided by Gall's deft playing. Themes are embellished with variations, giving the whole session a chamber jazz feel.

The album's highlight, "Another Love Song," is also its longest tune. It begins with a haunting melody and Gall using arpeggios and riff-like trills. The effect Is like looking out at snow gently weighing down branches on a calm winter day. About two-thirds into the song, the piano phrasing becomes more rollicky—like surfing a wave where the listener is propelled forward into a musical pipe. Then the piece returns to its haunting melody.

"Mosaic" is another excellent tune. The music flows like a great waterfall down rushing rapids and eventually into small brooks and rivulets. Here Gall's piano playing echoes Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert (ECM Records, 1975).

Unfortunately, some numbers are not as engaging. The metronomic reading of the John Lennon/Paul McCartney tune "Julia" is especially glaring, and the three "Interludes" feel like filler. Still, when the music resonates, as it does on much of the album, Gall's playing is magical.

Track Listing: Behind the Curtain; Room of Silence; It Never Entered My Mind; Interlude I; Another Love Song; Mosaic; Interlude Ii; Julia; Backstage Cadence; The Puppeteer; Estrada Branca; Interlude III; Hymn To Freedom; Hays.

Personnel: Chris Gall: piano.

Title: Room Of Silence | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: GLM Music GmbH

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