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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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L’Hymne à l’Amour
(If you love me)

CAM Jazz PRM 7799-2





1. Milonga is Coming
2. Triunfal
3. L'Hymne à l'Amour (If You Love Me)
4. Sinfonia 11 in G minor, BWV 797
5. Soledad
6. Para Jobim
7. Operation Tango
8. Romance del Diablo
9. Waltz for Debby

10. Il Postino

Richard Galliano – Accordion

Gary Burton – Vibes

George Mraz – Bass

Clarence Penn – Drums

Hot on the heels of Richard Galliano’s Live in Marciac CD (which I reviewed here a few weeks ago) comes another Galliano album, this time with a quartet featuring vibist Gary Burton. The interplay between the two leaders is reminiscent of the duets which Gary Burton recorded with Chick Corea. Here Burton’s vibes are paired with a different keyboard instrument, but the result is a similar meeting of two brilliant musical minds.

The album exemplifies how jazz has expanded its horizons: assimilating influences from a multitude of musical styles – in this case from world music and even the classics. This new fusion has spread throughout jazz, sometimes displacing the primacy of swing in favour of romantic expression. On this album, the main world music influence comes from the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, who wrote half of the tunes on this CD. Gary Burton has already recorded an album devoted primarily to Piazzolla compositions and his feeling for Astor’s music is radiantly clear. Richard Galliano’s recordings have testified to his love of the Argentinian tango, which is at the heart of Piazzolla’s writing, so both he and Burton are ideal exponents of this music.

The CD opens with two Piazzolla compositions: Milonga is Coming being gently poetic, while Triunfal has a shifting rhythm which owes much to the tango. Richard Galliano’s accordion often evokes a French atmosphere and this is particularly true of the title track – Edith Piaf’s L’Hymne å l’Amour (alias If You Love Me), which is played very slowly and thoughtfully. Here and throughout the album, the mood is heightened by the lyricism implicit in Gary Burton’s mastery of the vibraphone.

A change of style is marked by the fourth track: a Bach sinfonia where the counterpoint is accentuated by the jazz-waltz pulse. Soledad is a mournful Piazzolla tune, and Para Jobim is Richard Galliano’s appropriate tribute to the master of the bossa nova. After a couple more Piazzolla numbers, there is Waltz for Debby, the jazziest tune on the CD - although the jazz element is reduced by Gary Burton’s arrangement. If there is one criticism of this album, it is that every track is closely arranged (by either Burton or Galliano) leaving sparse space for the improvisation at which one knows both men excel. The rhythm team of George Mraz and Clarence Penn tend to be shifted into the background, so that one hardly notices their presence much of the time. Yet one cannot complain, when the music is so exquisitely lovely.

The album closes with another meditative interpretation – of Luis Bacalov’s theme for the film IL Postino (The Postman). The listener is strongly tempted to switch back again to the start of the album to hear it all over again and savour its peaceful beauty. As Galliano says in his sleeve-note: "L’Hymne å l’Amour raises itself, more than ever, against violence, terrorism and war".

Tony Augarde





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