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December 1999

Richard Galliano
French Touch
Dreyfus Records

The squeeze box is not an instrument one associates with jazz, but virtuoso French-Italian accordionist, Richard Galliano, is sure to change this. Galliano is joined by some superb musicians: bassists Remi Vignolo and Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark (who died of cancer shortly after these sessions were recorded); drummers Daniel Humair and Andre Ceccarelli; guitarist Jean-Marie Ecay; and soprano saxophonist Michel Portal. On these twelve tunes Galliano demonstrates mastery at executing rapid intricate changes full of jazz feeling. His influences are vast, though, with inclusions that range from the thundering "Heavy Tango," to the italianate "Caruso," to the Brazilian tune "Bebe" by Hermeto Pascual. There's also the Michel Legrand tune, "You Must Believe in Spring," and Galliano's own "Passarim," on which the accordion's opening bars suggest the start of an Irish reel. And always he induces dreams of springtime promenades on Parisian boulevards. He is a revelation.

Originally published in December 1999
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