Richard Galliano Biography

Richard Galliano has, since the death of Astor Piazzolla, become the most influential composer of modern works for the accordion, an instrument usually associated with traditional folk music. A Frenchman of Italian ancestry, Galliano is also a major figure in the movement that modernized musette, the turn-of-the century Parisian dance hall music that was France's answer to the tango.

Galliano, who started playing the accordion as a child, began improvising and adapting the accordion to jazz inspired by Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool sessions and the hard bop of Max Roach and Clifford Brown.

From 1973-76, he gained experience as a composer and arranger as a member of Claude Nougaro's big band, and later worked with Chet Baker, Ron Carter, Enrico Rava, Jan Garbarek, Michel Petrucciani, Philip Catherine, Toots Thielemans, Pierre Michelot, Didier Lockwood, Eddy Louiss and Joe Zawinul, among others.

In January 1994 Galliano formed a trio with Humair and Jenny Clark that performed at major clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout Europe.

Galliano has recorded five previous albums as a leader since signing an exclusive contract with Dreyfus Jazz in 1993, including Viaggio with Lolo Bellonzi, Michelot and Bireli Lagrene (1993); Laurita with drummer Joey Baron, bassist Palle Danielsson and Michel Portal, Thielemans and Lockwood as guest soloists (1995); New York Tango with Lagrene, George Mraz and Al Foster (1996); and Blow Up, a duet recording with clarinetist Portal (1998).

In May 1999, French Touch was released with several Galliano originals, with pieces by Hermeto Pascoal ("BTbT"), Michel Legrand ("You Must Believe In Spring") and Lucien Dalla ("Caruso"). Seven of the 12 tracks feature the accodionist accompanied by long-time associates Michel Portal on soprano saxophone, Daniel Humair on drums and J.-F. Jenny Clarke, who died of cancer a few months after these sessions were recorded, on bass. The remaining five tracks were recorded with acoustic guitarist Jean-Marie Ecay, bassist RTmi Vignolo and drummer AndrT Ceccarelli.

Courtesy of Dreyfus Jazz

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