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Richard Galliano Quartet featuring Gary Burton: If You Love Me

If you don’t enjoy the romantic sound of the accordion or the tender chiming of the vibraphone-and plenty of people don’t-then you certainly won’t appreciate what accordionist Richard Galliano has done here in teaming up with vibraphonist Gary Burton. In fact, you should probably skip down to the next review. But if you find yourself inexorably attracted to both tones, then you will find this a heavenly partnership.

Anyone who can turn the buttoned beast into an instrument of jazz and make a living doing so deserves respect, and over his career, Galliano has done that and more, blending the worlds of Italian and French folk, Argentinean tango and American jazz. Teaming with Burton, bassist George Mraz and drummer Clarence Penn adds a new dimension to his work. Very different instruments, the accordion and the vibes, but they complement each other wonderfully, Burton’s mallets dancing around Galliano’s breathy squeezes.

The beautiful tangos of Astor Piazzolla take up much of the program on If You Love Me, but there are some lovely surprises too: a dynamic arrangement of a Bach composition, an original tune by Galliano, a moving take of Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debby” and the heartbreaking theme to the Italian film The Postman. At every turn, these gentlemen render their work with class, reverence and energy.

Originally Published