Richard Galliano Septet: Piazzolla Forever

Consider Piazzolla Forever (Dreyfus) by Richard Galliano’s Septet as a late addition to my top releases of last year. With string quartet, piano and double bass, Galliano is featured live-with a masterful acoustic reproduction and mix-at the 2002 Jazz Festival Willisau in Lucerne, Switzerland. The entire weather-season-inspired “Porteno” pieces, encasing the recording, have an awesome grandeur. Aleksandr Petrovsky, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s character on HBO’s Sex and the City, can be readily pictured in a video for “Milonga del Angel” playing piano with the septet in his ample New York bachelor pad for Sarah Jessica Parker’s character. The “Concerto Pour Bandoneon et Orchestre Aconcagua: Final,” on the other hand, is intensely dramatic and oozes virtuosi pathos. “Laura et Astor” is Galliano’s only original and, in spite of its briefness and simplicity, it is quite powerful in tone, emotiveness and conception. “Escualo” has an Africanized backbeat, with one of several remarkable performances from violinist Jean Marc Phillips-Varjabedian.