Richard Galliano “New Jazz Musette”

Richard Galliano "New Jazz Musette"I’ve been listening to a lot of new music recently. Actually I’m constantly listening, the first thing in the morning after getting up is not walking into the kitchen to make a coffee and it is not going into the bathroom, but it is always putting on the stereo. You will only see me with headphones when I’m walking Gina. Alas, there have been a lot of mediocre releases recently. I’m still a big fan of Kurt Rosenwinkel‘s refreshing “Caipi”, Gina’s first and so far only five-paw review of the year. And I’m still enjoying a lot of soul/jazz projects where the genres are excitingly combined. Still very disappointed over the pop boredom of the new José James album and yes, I did listen to Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner’s album “Drunk” which everyone seems to talk about these days. There are a few brilliant songs and what a coup to feature Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald on “Show You The Way”. But with 15 songs shorter than 2:20 mins, it really gets frustrating. Each time that I think something really cool and interesting and groovy is going to happen, the track is already over. What’s the use? I want to listen to complete songs or a certain mood, and not to a sequence of short snippets.

So I was on one of my daily walks with Gina on an exceptionally mild and sunny day recently, listening to the new double-CD by Richard Galliano. Richard is celebrating 30 years in the business and instead of putting out a best-of compilation, he decided to re-record 18 songs from his 50-album repertoire, which included the groundbreaking “New Musette” album in 1991 which also started this new genre. The sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter but always magnificent beauty of the sound of the accordion is nowhere better displayed than in the hands of this man. Just one listen to “Viaggio” (title track of an album from 2006) and the sight of the first cherry tree in full bloom is almost too much to handle! The sounds he gets from the instrument are simply amazing and there is never a feeling of repetitiveness here which many people complain about when listening to the accordion. There is a lot of variety in sound and style, and especially in the beauty Richard creates with his instrument. The fundamental tenderness of  “Lili” is soothing and warm, the swinging touch of pieces like “A French Touch” or “Beritwaltz” is breathtaking and with new recordings of classic pieces like “Spleen” (originally released in 1999), he outplays himself.

There is a lot to explore on this fantastic piece of art which also has a stellar cast of musicians accompanying Richard: Sylvain Luc on guitar, Philippe Aerts on bass, and André Ceccarelli on drums. At first I thought that it was maybe a fitting coincidence walking through the sun and seeing the first cherry trees blooming, so I was listening to the album again a few days later. At home. Raining outside. Same effect. It’s the beauty in the music that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. Pick any piece. “Azul Tango” is a thrill. “Aurore” is so utterly splendid that it is really hard to follow it up with anything else.

There is another five-paw album coming out late next week. I will feature it tomorrow.

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