Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Intersection: Galliano

The Intersection is an ongoing feature on JazzWrap that looks at artists that have blended jazz in new and highly creative ways.

Galliano (group; formed 1988)

This rag-tag collective is probably one of the most underrated of the Acid Jazz movement during the early '90s (along with Mother Earth and Emperors New Clothes). The group was more spiritual, political and earthy than their funky contemporaries like the globe trotting Jamiraoqui and Brand New Heavies. Galliano had a beautiful mixture of Beat Generation poetry, African rhythms, Roy Ayers soulfulness and Pharoah Sanders forward thinking approach to the sky (so to speak).

Galliano was led by DJ turned musician Rob Gallagher and featured the raspy sexy vocals of underground legend Valerie Etienne, and delivered four phenomenal albums from 91 - 96. Each was built around a swirling jazzy soul motif and infectious trip hop grooves. In listening to these albums again over the last couple of days before writing this entry I realized they all hold up amazingly well as most of the Acid Jazz titles have done. Very surprising for this short lived movement.

While I think all the albums are necessary, if you can only find A Joyful Noise Unto The Creator and The Plot Thickens (both on Talkin' Loud) you would have the real essence of what the band was all about. A Joyful Noise Unto The Creator features some of the early roots for the Acid Jazz movement including the really funky "Skunk Funk," and the beauty "Prince Of Peace" which you'll find playing over and over again. The Plot Thickens was the big breakthrough for the band. It included "Long Time Gone," "Twyford Downs," and "Blood Lines," all real winners in the Acid Jazz soul playbook. Galliano, while feeling like a collective, was definitely a band with the strong use of live instruments.

On their fourth and final album, 4 (Talkin' Loud) they began to incorporate electronics (maybe due to the success of Massive Attack's Protection). That's not to say it's a bad record, its actually quite good and was the platform for the next band that Gallagher would form, Two Banks Of Four which has put out three incredible albums that if you can find them are worth buying no matter the price. There were a myriad of bands during the Acid Jazz era--most were quite good but didn't receive the mass acceptance that the two bands mentioned in the beginning of this entry, but if you haven't investigated the Acid Jazz era, Galliano are great place to start.

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