Richard Galliano: New York Tango Trio

The French accordionist is in good form in a Swiss festival set inspired by Astor Piazzolla but also touching Erik Satie and Django Reinhardt


Jazz accordionists in the past (Mat Matthews, Leon Sash, Art Van Damme, etc) tended to take a peripheral role, but Richard Galliano is justifiably prominent, mainly because he has taken the instrument successfully into areas of improvisation by incorporating elements of jazz. For inspiration, he has followed the eminent Argentine Astor Piazzolla, some of whose compositions are used in this live set from the Cully Jazz Festival.

This trio setting is the perfect blend of his instrument, with its range of sound, with that of the highly rhythmic guitar and cello of Sebastien Giniaux and the deeply pulsating heartbeat of Diego Imbert’s bass. The musicians interact well, responsive to one another according to the mood and feeling of each piece, Galliano himself directing proceedings and jumping up a gear when necessary.

Galliano’s compositions are striking, whether the assertive and lively New York Tango, the full-bodied and brisk Waltz For Nicky, the vigorous Tango Pour Claude or Chat Pitre, with its links to Eric Satie’s Gnossienne. Of Piazzolla’s works, the attractive opener Vuelvo Al Sur sees Galliano leading, with Giniaux’s chord changes giving substance and with the occasional foray into flamenco and Reinhardt territory. Chiquilin De Bachin is an engaging, wistful Piazzolla number with Giniaux on cello whilst the haunting early tango style of Milonga Del Angel provides part of the finale.

An enjoyable album, which will appeal to those interested in tango and anyone wanting to find out about Galliano’s music. The recording is clear with good sound and comes with an informative booklet.

Vuelvo Al Sur; New York Tango; Chiquilin De Bachin; Gnossienne No.3; Chat Pitre; Il Piccolo Circo; Waltz For Nicky; Tango Pour Claude; Milonga Del Angel; La Javanaise (54.43)
Galliano (acc); Sebastien Giniaux (g, clo); Diego Imbert (b). Cully Jazz Festival, Switzerland, April 2022.