Richard Galliano & Michel Portal: Viaggio
Blow Up/Concerts (Dreyfus 36875)
Recorded: Paris, May 18-19, 1996
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
Accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano and highly proficient multi-instrumentalist Michel Portal have performed frequently together over the years, and the Blow Up session (recorded before a live studio audience) is a prime example of the excellence of their collaborations. Portal, who plays clarinet, bass clarinet, bandoneon and the rare jazzophone on other pieces, picks up the soprano sax for "Viaggio." The title means "journey" in Italian, and that is indeed what it is. From the Eastern European gypsy sound of Galliano's swirling and dramatic intro, to the jabbing tango rhythm he plays behind Portal's luminous reading of the endearing theme, only to be succeeded by the introduction of a second Brazilian-tempoed melody, this track covers a lot of territory. Portal's solo is swift, intricate and impeccably executed, while Galliano takes a more concise route, focusing on expressive sound textures amidst a stunning display of technical facility. The fadeout ending is capped by Galliano's rhythmic hand-tapping along the side of his instrument. This is irresistible world music from a jazz perspective.
Reviewer: Scott Albin