Hal Galper

Hal Galper, now in his fifth decade as a major jazz musician, continues to innovate and be a highly-respected pianist. Galper is a pioneer in bringing swing to audiences by combining innovative rhythmic and harmonic ideas. His trio’s exploration of rubato is opening up new possibilities for jazz musicians and listeners. Reviewer Dan McGlenaghan of All About Jazz said that Galper’s exploration of rubato playing in his trio is opening up new possibilities for jazz musicians and listeners alike. Aerigin Revisited (2012) was reviewed by Downbeat. The high level of integration and communication that the trio exhibits is uncommon and very exciting to experience . Galper’s writings and teachings are a great resource for educators, providing both new and experienced musicians with practical knowledge and business skills to support their music making. Galper was a founding member of New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. He teaches there today. Galper also teaches at Purchase Conservatory and regularly travels to college lecture-workshop circuits. Galper’s theory of Forward Motion was first published in Downbeat as a series. It provides insights into the mechanics of melody, phrasing, and how to practice scales to improve jazz performance. Hal states that most problems in playing music are perceptional in nature. He offers private instruction via internet and one-to-one lessons through broadband connections. Since its inception, Forward Motion has been a huge success. The E-book version of Forward Motion was the first interactive Ebook that allowed more than 300 musical samples to be played on a computer browser. The E-book as well as the hardcover edition can be found at www.halgalper.com. Galper’s The Touring Musician is a small business approach to booking your band on the road. It provides practical advice about how to select and manage musicians, create budgets, book engagements and other practical issues such as how to handle the frustrations and complexities of air travel. His website contains information about all his publications, educational videos and articles. Galper was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on April 18, 1938. He was a student of classical piano from the age 6 He received a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music, Boston in the 1950s. He received formal jazz training at Berklee. He also listened to the music of local legends like Jaki Byard, Sam Rivers (saxophonist, flutist), and Alan Dawson (drummer). He was soon a regular at The Stables, where he met Herb Pomeroy, another Berklee teacher. He was soon the house pianist at The Stables as well as at Connelly’s on The Turnpike and Lenny’s on The Turnpike, two Boston jazz venues. Galper was influenced by Wynton Kelly and Jaki Byard as well as Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, and Wynton Kelly. Galper was admired for his stylistic versatility. He had been a professional since the 1950s, when he was influenced by bebop and the free style of Ornette Coleman. While free jazz was essential to his development, bop was the core of his creative process. Cadence magazine quoted him as saying, “I wouldn’t be able to perform the way that I’m playing now, if it hadn’t been all those years since I heard Ornette’s first album, building a solid jazz foundation through absorbing the vocabulary and bebop.” Hal has also played with musicians whose styles required flexibility. They include Johnny Hodges and Roy Eldridge as well as James Moody, Art Blakey and Slide Hampton. He spent six years living with Sam Rivers, his Boston mentor, and worked alongside Joe Henderson, John Scofield and the Bobby Hutcherson–Harold Land Quintet. Galper’s discography contains 99 albums, 32 of which were recorded under his direction. Galper has been praised by music journalists and mainstream reviewers for his bold ways. Galper was a sideman for many years. The New York Times called his music “adventurous and exploratory,” Billboard, Record World, “Four Star,” Record World, “Startlingly, very exciting indeed”; Downbeat, “energy-driven, versatile.” Three years as Chet Baker’s trumpeter, followed by three years with Cannonball Adderley; and ten years of touring and recording with Phil Woods. Baker described Hal as a “very good player.” He also liked the way he writes. He agreed to join me at the Jazz Workshop, so I hired him. Galper was introduced to recording and put on the road to important clubs in New York. He’s on Baker’s Baby Breeze, Verve, and The Most Important Jazz Album of 1964-65 (Roulette). Launched at 26 years old, the pianist. Hal says that Chet taught him a lot about dynamics, listening, listening, and playing a ballad. But the time came when he wanted to do more modern music. “I couldn’t make the trip to New York on my own and returned to New England in 1966.” He met Phil Woods, an alto saxophonist, in a meeting that looked forward to one of his most significant associations. He said, “I was with Lenny’s house band.” “Phil was our guest soloist, and we spent a week together. It was love at the first beat. He was now a well-known figure in jazz, and a leader in the free jazz scene in New York. He recorded three albums for the Mainstream label as well as The Guerilla Band’s Inner Journey, Wild Bird, and The Guerilla Band. Cannonball Adderley, a keyboard player, was searching for George Duke in 1973 as he left to join Frank Zappa. Galper auditioned for the Adderley quintet by playing at Boston’s Jazz Workshop. This led to Galper’s three-year tenure with the band, and almost non-stop touring. Although his primary role was to play the electric piano, he also composed music for the quintet (“Second Son”, and “My Lady Blue”) and appeared on three Adderley albums, Inside Straight, Love, Sex, and The Zodiac. Hal stated that he is still learning from Cannonball’s group. “I loved the energy and the rapport, but after three years I realized that I didn’t really need the road. He left Adderley in 1975 with regret and anticipation. He also decided to return to the piano that he had played for most of his adult life. He said, “After all I was an acoustic piano player.” Galper made his decision by dragging his Fender Rhodes to the Hudson River’s end and then tipping it into water. Galper recalls seeing bubbles rise to surface as his instrument fell out of his hands. Galper was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and he mapped out a plan which included drummer Billy Hart, trumpeter Randy Brecker, his brother Michael’s saxophonist, Wayne Dockery, and bassist Michael Dockery. The Hal Galper Quintet made its debut at Sweet Basil in New York’s Greenwich Village. They recorded albums for Steeplechase (Reach Out 1976) and Century (Speak with a Single Voice 1978). They played at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival with Bob Moses replacing Hart as drummer. Galper called the quintet “a very modern band.” Everyone had one hundred percent freedom. After a while, I realized that the direction and the concept were only part of what was important to me. In 1978, Galper disbanded his quintet. Galper was again a sideman and toured with Nat Adderley (John Scofield), Slide Hampton (Slider Hampton) and Lee Konitz. In September 1979, he was a sideman at the Village Vanguard where he performed with the Phil Woods Quartet. Woods hired him to be the award-winning band’s pianist-composer-arranger. Galper stated, “What a gig,” “ten years recording and touring around the world, playing Acoustic Bebop, was a rare and lucky experience.” Galper has 14 albums in his discography as a Woods’s member. Galper’s success on Portrait, his trio album for Concord during his final year with Woods inspired him to start his own business. He began touring six months per year in 1990 with Steve Ellington, drummer, and Jeff Johnson, bassist. Three more albums were recorded by them for Concord. They also released trio CDs for ENJA, Double Time, and collaborations with trumpeter Tim Hagans and Jerry Bergonzi. His ESP-like compatibility and Johnson’s vision paved the way for his new trio. Galper stated, “Everything is obvious in hindsight.” He also said that his musical history shows that he has a knack for “broken-time” or rubato playing. This is where the beat is maintained, but with subdivided rhythms. His trio with Johnson, Bishop and Galper produces some of most captivating and satisfying music in the 21st century. From www.halgalper.com

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