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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 22 February 2020 07:14

Elliot Galvin - Live In Paris

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Spellbinding solo recording that demonstrates the pianist at his best.

Elliot Galvin’s new album, Live In Paris, is his first solo recording. Recorded at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, it is completely improvised, and demonstrates Galvin’s growing maturity as a musician. Opener As Above is perhaps most obviously Jarrett-like, full of fantastic, racing flourishes, before he brings it to a more subtle close, albeit with the occasional ‘false’ ending. Time And Everything sees the pianist toying with the strings of the piano; whilst such touches can sound gimmicky, in Galvin’s hands a pleasing melody gradually evolves. Coda’s stabbing, percussive playing shows hints of Monk, and whilst this is not my favourite piece on the album, it is also fairly brief. 

Watch and listen to Time And Everything here:

For J.S., as the title suggests, begins with a Bach-influenced exploration that gradually evolves with some quite stunning playing, the pianist bursting with ideas. Amazing! With Broken Windows, Galvin takes the speed down a few notches, and delivers a quieter, more searching piece that could easily pass for a classic ECM-type recording. So Below brings the album to a close, and shows the pianist at his most avant-garde. Had this appeared at the beginning of the album, I might have found it off-putting, but at the end of the set, it seems entirely appropriate, and lots of fun. 

I have seen Galvin play live on multiple occasions, and have occasionally found his playful touches something of a distraction. On Live In Paris, the pace of the set is just perfect, demonstrating all aspects of his playing to splendid effect. It may be a little too modern for purists, but I thought the album was utterly spellbinding.


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