SpringboardLucy Galliher Group

Lucy Galliher, piano; Chris Potter, saxophone; Ryan Kisor, trumpet; Santi Debriano, bass; Yoron Israel, drums; Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, vocals

This is an excellent debut CD by a pianist and composer who has interesting ideas and the chops to put them across. All the songs but one are originals, all are heavily arranged, and all demand and repay close listening. Galliher's music avoids prettiness, going instead for dissonant voiced horns, modal-sounding progressions, driving rhythms, and unexpected flashes of great beauty.

The title song is a tour de force for drummer Israel, who all but paints his free-rhythm style onto Galliher's harmonies. Kisor and Potter solo effectively but not dazzlingly in the limited space Galliher gives them for this kind of work. Where they shine is on unison statements of the themes and backing arrangements with split-second precision. On Charlie Parker's "Au Privave," the only nonoriginal composition on the disc, Kisor really echoes the sound of Miles in his early days with Bird.

Galliher's style on the piano shows the effect of classical training in that she maintains a legato feel at the fastest speeds. The liner notes relate that as a child she used to improvise on her classical music assignments before she ever heard of Jazz. There is one vocal number, a tribute to a saxophonist friend called "I Remember C. Sharpe." It gets a little too maudlin for my taste, and at one point on another track the proceedings degenerate into an avant-garde anarchy. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the session.

by Robert Tate

Springboard is available through the Jazz Now Direct CD Store.

Jazz Now Interactive May 2000 Issue