1. Chat Pitre
2. Gnossienne No. 1
3. Gnossienne No. 2
7. La Javanaise
9. New York Tango.
10. Round Midnight
Richard Galliano - Accordion
As a jazz reviewer, I tend to prefer Richard Galliano when he is
playing alongside jazz musicians, but I still love his solo concerts.
His brilliant accordion playing embraces elements of jazz as well
as the expected French tinge and exotica from South America and elsewhere.
You hardly notice the absence of a rhythm section, as Galliano embodies
his own rhythm section, conjuring up a huge variety of rhythms from
every aspect of the accordion. Sertao is a fine example of
this, with all the resources of the instrument employed to elicit
a wide range of rhythmic sounds to back up his busy right hand.
Sertao is just one of six Galliano compositions on this CD,
recorded in March 2009 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. His Chat
Pitre and New York Tango are perennials in his repertoire
- and both tunes are spirited pieces which display Richard's vivacious
style as well as his technical virtuosity. Sheng is a short,
mercurial number which dances about at the top of the accordion. Bagatelle
starts more seriously but segues into a brief waltz. Aria is
a melody that sings to the listener with the emotional power of an
The programme also includes Erik Satie's first and second Gnossiennes.
The first of these is well-known: a tune with an oriental air. The
second is less familiar but still as hauntingly enigmatic as the word
Gnossienne (invented by Satie himself and still of uncertain
meaning). La Javanaise was written by Serge Gainsbourg and
it exemplifies the alluring French accordion style which I tend to
think of as "Sous les ponts de Paris".
Lucio Dalla's Caruso is almost operatic in its intense melismas,
with Galliano concentrating at the highly expressive top end of the
accordion. The only jazz standard on the disc is Thelonious Monk's
Round Midnight, to which Richard imparts a suitably late-night
yet fervent feeling. Oblivion is by Astor Piazzolla and Richard
Galliano gives it a mystic atmosphere as well as necessary touches
of the Argentinian tango.
Lasting barely 43 minutes (including audience applause), this CD
might be thought to offer short change, but the richness of the music
is enough to fill several albums. Do yourself a favour: get to know