Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hal Galper - 1980 - Ivory Forest

Hal Galper 
Ivory Forest 

01. Ivory Forest 7:36
02. Continuity 6:32
03. My Dog Spot 6:31
04. Monk's Mood 5:58
05. Yellow Days 3:48
06. Rapunzel's Luncheonette 9:36

Bass – Wayne Dockery
Drums – Adam Nussbaum
Guitar – John Scofield
Piano – Hal Galper

Recorded October 31, 1979 and November 1, 1979, Ludwigsburg

Although a quartet is listed on this set (pianist Hal Galper, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Adam Nussbaum), only three of the selections are performed by the full group. Galper's "Continuity" (one of four of his originals) is a piano/guitar duet; Galper also duets with Dockery on "Yellow Days," but sits out altogether on Scofield's solo rendition of "Monk's Mood." Well-played, if not overly memorable, modern mainstream music.

This album is officially by the Hal Galper Quartet, but the front cover (of the CD edition, at least) has only "Hal Galper -- John Scofield" printed, as if they shared equal billing. Whatever the case, the personnel is Hal Galper, piano & composer of the four originals here, Scofield, guitar, Wayne Dockery on acoustic bass and future John Scofild Trio drummer Adam Nussbaum. The commements below concern Scofield's participation in the session, but before I make them I'll say that Galper is a fantastic, tasty pianist who, like Jim McNeely and Alan Broadbent, is unfortuately overlooked by the larger jazz audience.

The first piece is an unacompanied guitar solo (a rarity in the Scofield catalog) where Sco plays "Monk's Mood" (by Monk, of course). The 1965 Spanish popular song Yellow Days follows (it's best known, with its English lyric, as a Sinatra tune) and it is the only tune of the six not to feature Sco (Nussbaum is out too--it's a piano/bass duet).

Then comes the four Galper originals, quartet numbers all except "Continuity," which is a guitar-piano duet.

Scofield's sound and playing are superb--this is before he found the Roland Jazz Chorus amp sound, and the tone he gets on these early dates to me is just timeless. Sco, told Bill Milkowski in 1990, speaking of another late-70s session of his, "The sound of the guitar was not really together then. I've gotten much more adept at dealing with effects to fatten up my sound and get a wider variety of tones and colors. But basically, I hear all the same sort of stuff I do now." With all due respect, I beg to differ about the sound and it's "togetherness". With his cleaner tone, all the nuances of his amazing touch are brought forward--you aren't listening through the veil of a chorus effect. Perhaps it's just a matter of what context he's in--on recent albums like "Überjam," the guitar processing seems entirely appropriate and enhances his sound. On the other hand, in a more classic jazz setting like this date or his fabulous early-1980s trio records with Steve Swallow, I'm so glad he chose to use the sound he used.

1 comment:

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