A seven-year wait for a new CD by Hal Galper
was a bit too long for his longtime fans, but the pianist doesn't disappoint with this excellent post-bop session, released in late 2006. Bassist Tony Marino and drummer Billy Mintz
join him to interpret his demanding charts, which often have the leader seeming to work somewhat independently of his rhythm section. The standard "How Deep Is the Ocean" bears little resemblance to typical interpretations, only loosely using the song's framework as a source of improvisation. Likewise, a listener would be challenged to hum along with his dense, enticing setting of the old warhorse "On Green Dolphin Street." The one readily accessible piece is John Coltrane
's moody scoring of the Swedish folk song "Dear Old Stockholm," but Galper
tests its boundaries as well, but to a lesser extent. The leader's originals are every bit as challenging, with the updated performance of his rather intense "Waiting for Chet" proving to be the highlight.