Hal Galper Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hal Galper Trio

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Pianist Hal Galper spent a dozen years working with two of the ballsiest alto saxophonists in jazz--Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods--and so you'd expect his ability to summon, a full-figured, densely textured keyboard persona whenever needed. But that side of his character doesn't surface all that often in Galper's own trio, where he revels in a light touch, subtly shaded chords, and the clean separation between his busy right-hand improvisations and the accent chords of his left. Lightness, subtlety, and his arresting attention to dynamics: these qualities speak eloquently of an earlier musical association with the trumpeter Chet Baker. Galper depends on them in crafting his admirable solos, well-nuanced narratives with an unusually strong sense of melodic propulsion: they almost always seem to be going somewhere, and when they get there, the journey proves to have been economical as well as scenic. Galper will bring his regular trio to town, giving us a chance to enjoy Steve Ellington's drumming. Ellington tames his natural explosiveness for the trio format, but enough of his iconoclasm slips through to prod the music in a manner that's both unusual and delightful. Saturday, 10:30 PM, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/David Lubarsky.

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