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Richard Galliano: Love Day: Los Angeles Sessions

The pairing of French accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba-kindred spirits from different hemispheres-was an inspired notion. Together they blend their extraordinary talents with the sympathetic rhythm tandem of bassist Charlie Haden and percussionist-drummer Mino Cinelu on this engaging collaboration marked by exquisite melodies, uncommon sensitivity and unparalleled chops.

While Galliano remains largely unknown in the United States, he is regarded as an artist of the highest order in his native France as well as throughout Europe and Canada (he’s been feted as an Invitation Series guest at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, where he makes regular appearances). The four seasoned musicians strike a pleasing accord on the relaxed opener “Aurore” and the sprightly swinger “Bonjour!” while the pyrotechnic tendencies of Galliano and Rubalcaba come into play on the striking duet “Birds” and in their spirited encounter with percussionist Cinelu on “Apple Pie.” Galliano and Rubalcaba show Zen-like restraint on their other duet number, the aptly-titled “Serenite,” as well as on their gorgeous quartet ballad “Pourquoi?,” which surprisingly explodes into a highly charged, tumbao-fueled Latin jazz romp midway through, resulting in some bristling exchanges between piano and accordion. Galliano also flaunts his astounding virtuosity on an extended intro to the classically influenced “Aria.”

Haden’s resounding tones are very present in the mix throughout, effectively anchoring tunes like the melancholy “Hymne,” the fragile ballad “Poeme” and the gentle title track (a kind of Gallic answer to the Mexican ballads that Haden featured on his Land of the Sun, which also featured pianist Rubalcaba). A beautiful, classy outing by four world-class musicians.

Originally Published