Blue Chip Jazz
Hal Galper gives the impression of missing nothing: his musical thinking seems never elliptical, but fully phrased, and draws on all of the great stylists that have shaped the jazz piano idiom over the past 25 years. He is heard here live, with his working trio of some seven years' standing at the time of this recording (February 1997). Bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Steve Ellington are so much a part of Galper's conception that their collaboration seems to spring from one mind. The set opens on a pensive note, with "The End of a Love Affair" stretched over taut rhythms before stretching out into boppish runs. The mid-tempo swing of "If You are but a Dream" is broken up nicely by tripleted punctuation that is picked up in the variations as well as the initial arrangement. The second half of the set opens things up wide: "Fascinating Rhythm" includes a marvelous Ellington solo, and the blistering tempo of the closing "Cottontail" leaves us breathless, hitting the replay button to confirm the impression that he really does cram all that melody into those fleeting moments.