Richard Galliano’s solo concert at the Wigmore Hall in the 2018 EFG London Jazz Festival was certainly one of my highlights of the festival and of the year. Galliano’s sense of how to construct and to pace a recital from start to end was a revelation. Jane Mann did a wonderfully detailed write-up of the London concert and I was still very much under the spell of it when I wrote my LJF round-up (links below).
Galliano has explained the background to the CD of a live recording made for months earlier in 2018, in July, on his website (this text curiously never made it into the English language press release): “This live recording is the result of the fact that the three concerts which I gave as part of “Folle Journée” were recorded. “Folle Journée” is a renowned classical music festival which first saw the light of day in Nantes, and is now being exported to Japan. Three concerts! I chose the second one for this recording because something new happened that day, which fully justified the release of an album. For the record, Rémi Bourcereau, my sound engineer, took a very good initiative and recorded the concerts without actually informing me. He was so right to do that!” Galliano says that the receptiveness and quiet attentiveness of the Japanese audience are something special, and it is true that on this recording they all really do listen and wait together, and then all show their vociferous appreciation together at the end of each of the 13 tracks.
The joy of this CD is its variety and its total assurance. Galliano makes all the tunes, whether they are from classical music (Chopin, Debussy, Granados), or from popular repertoire work in an authentic way. The Legrand medley he did in London is here again, and I think he makes more of the contrasts between the tunes on the recorded version than he did in London, where it was all more of a seamless/suave/boulevardier version. Galliano employs textures which go all the way from a single unsupported melodic line (Soleil and Chaplin’s Smile all the way to the large-scale orchestral and harmonically mobile (Valse pour Claude). He did play some delicious Hermeto Pascoal (Bebe) in London that didn’t get included here, but there is so much to enjoy on this CD one can hardly moan about that.
The news about this new album only reached me because I now subscribe to the podcast version of Alex Dutilh’s superb drive time show on France-Musique Open Jazz. The show cannot be recommended highly enough. Alex always has all of the press material and the latest stories at his fingertips, but his descriptions of the music which is about to be played or has just been played often have an elegance and a ‘souplesse’ to really illuminate and explain the music. I also picked up the news from his show that Galliano will be perfoming in a duo with Ron Carter at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Now there’s a combination….
The Tokyo Concert will be performed live at the church of St Germain-des-Prés at their festival this Friday 17 May.