Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ricardo Gallo:The Great Fine Line

Ricardo Gallo (piano)
The Great Fine Line (Clean Feed; 2010)

Ray Anderson (trombone)
Dan Blake (sax)
Mark Helias (bass)
Satoshi Takeishi (drums, percussion)
Pheerdan Aklaff (drums)

I've discussed Ricardo Gallo's many virtues recently. He is an artist who continually gets better with each album. The Great Fine Line, his first album for Clean Feed records is another marvelous addition to his growing cannon of material.

This sextet recording was done just a few short weeks after his mainstay quartet had finished its third release, Resistencias (Ladistrito Fonica). The Great Fine Line is a more expansive and freedom exploring outing in which the musicians including Gallo stretch their emotional muscle with wonderful results.

The album's title refers to the famous Argentine author, Julio Cortazar (author of the amazing novel, Hopscotch) and his belief that music is a no-mans land and that everything becomes blurred. This is true when it comes to The Great Fine Line with it's varying passages and moments of exploration by each member.

On "Stomp At No Man's Land" Ray Anderson and Dan Blake take prime space to rip through chord changes as Ricardo Gallo controls the balance around the edges. An intricate battle ensues on "Three Versions Of A Lie" in which the interchanges from each musicians is bold and vibrant. Gallo's use of two drummers for this session is also a wonderful choice. It does give distinct to each track. Takeishi's performance on "Three Version Of A Lie" is superb and dominates the proceeding.

"Hermetismo" starts in melodic, gentle tones with Helias, Gallo and Aklaff leading way until Blake and Anderson join in to make it almost a contemporary bop-ish affair. It's probably the most straight-ahead piece on the album but still having abstract undertones. Contradiction? I don't think so.

"La Pina Blanca" starts like a homage to New Orleans before spinning quickly into varying level of free form point/counterpoint. Lovely stuff as each member quickly shuffles back and forth in time.

With The Great Fine Line, Ricardo Gallo continues to make his name on the new jazz community. The diversity of his projects and his compositional work is truly setting him apart from the pact. Another well deserved must listen.

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