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Elliot Galvin Live in Paris, at Fondation Louis Vuitton review | John Fordham's jazz album of the month | Music


Frank Gehry, the 90-year-old American architect behind the spectacular new Fondation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris, quoted jazz sax legend Wayne Shorter’s opinion of rehearsals when asked about his own, improv-inspired working methods: “You can’t practice what you ain’t already invented.” Fittingly, the Fondation brought contemporary jazz under its soaring glass wings in 2018 – this 40-minute set by the distantly Jarrett-like but mostly unclassifiable young English pianist Elliot Galvin (a longtime collaborator with imaginative trumpeter/composer Laura Jurd) was recorded during that year’s solo jazz piano series at the venue.





Elliot Galvin: Live in Paris, at Fondation Louis Vuitton album art work


Live in Paris is more sonically austere than Galvin’s trio albums (there are no electronics or DIY instruments), but it still rings and rattles with the outpourings of a mercurial mind. The opening As Above suggests snatches of Keith Jarrett’s 2005 all-improv Carnegie Hall gig in its racing, keyboard-length descents and ascents, punctuated by rhythmic jolts and glimpses of songlike themes in the music’s margins. Time and Everything begins with brittle under-the-lid string-pluckings, but ends on an almost jaunty groove. For JS is a baroque-like exercise in long, undulating lines and graceful counterpoint, eventually spurring a walking left hand and a jaggedly jazzy feel. The haunting Broken Windows has a folksong’s lilt, So Below hurls together Cecil Tayloresque free-jazzy maelstroms, percussive whiplash sounds and bass-chord bangs. You don’t expect happy-clappy tunes and signalled payoffs from such a virtuosic, risk-embracing one-off as Galvin, but the tough art of unaccompanied piano improvising has gained a powerful new recruit, on this evidence.


This month’s other picks

Among several subtle covers, the classy Swedish duo of trombonist/singer Nils Landgren and pianist Jan Lundgren lend Landgren’s captivating horn purr to Keith Jarrett’s rolling Country, and impish improv twists to Norwegian Wood on Kristallen, but the pair’s tender tributes to their folk traditions are the standouts on a warm-hearted set. Vocalist Viktoria Tolstoy swaps pop-jazz for a straighter-swinging feel with gifted young pianist Joel Lyssarides’ quintet on Stations, mixing Dylan, the Ahmad Jamal classic Poinciana, and a yearningly determined account of singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam’s title track. And though the famous Paul Desmond/Dave Brubeck hit Take Five gets a rugged, post-Coltraneish workout on Brubeck’s pianist son Darius’s Live in Poland, three characterful originals and a sensuously slinky account of Hugh Masekela’s Nomali confirm how much more than a tribute outfit this fine band is.

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