James_galway-oreilly_street_span3
November 2008

Sir James Galway & Tiempo Libre
O’Reilly Street
Sony BMG Masterworks

If a classical musician wants to take a dip in the jazz pool, there’s no better way to start than with the compositions of Claude Bolling, the French composer who blends Baroque and jazz in his suites. Flutist Galway at least dips his toes in the pool on this recording, which includes a new take on themes from Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio. What’s new is an Afro-Cuban beat and feel courtesy of the Cuban timba quartet Tiempo Libre, whose members provide most of the jazz improvising as well as the tropical rhythms.

The seven titles from the Bolling suite are refreshed by the added Afro-Cuban elements as much as they are enhanced by Galway’s richly expressive tone and humanly emotional phrasing. And though he leaves almost all of the improvised soloing to the engaging pianist Jorge Gomez, he also spins off a virtuosic, jazzy cadenza on the final suite track, “Espiegle,” that could teach jazz flutists a thing or two. Four Gomez originals and his arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Badinerie” complete the album. While Gomez, bass guitarist Tebelio Fonte, and even percussionist Leandro Gonzalez and drummer Hilario Bell provide most of the Latin-jazz improvising, Galway shows he’s mastered playing in the clave and other Afro-Cuban rhythms, his lead flute dancing and prancing over the rhythms and occasionally adding variations, if not full-fledged improvisations.

Originally published in November 2008
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