Richard Galliano – Sentimentale [TrackList follows] – Resonance RecordsRichard Galliano – Richard Galliano/Nino Rota [TrackList follows] = DGG

by | Aug 22, 2014 | Jazz CD Reviews

Richard Galliano – Sentimentale [TrackList follows] – Resonance Records RCD-1021 ****:

Richard Galliano – Richard Galliano/Nino Rota [TrackList follows] = DGG 476 4615, 61:31 [Distr. by Universal] *****:

(Richard Galliano, accordion; Tamir Hendelman, piano & arranger {except the two Galliano tunes}; Anthony Wilson, guitars; Carlinos Del Puerto, doublebass; Mauricio Zottarelli, drums)

(Richard Galliano, accordion; John Surman, soprano sax/alto clarinet/clarinet; Dave Douglas, trumpet; Boris Kozlov, doublebass; Clarence Penn, drums & percussion)

This is the latest album from one of the greatest virtuoso musicians on the accordion, who has done jazz, French musette, tango, and all sorts of other world music. This new session celebrates deep musical traditions. Galliano’s musicianship has been described as almost orchestral—he almost has no need for a band or other instrumentalists to carry out his musical vision. He has long had the idea that the accordion was worthy of a place in the heart of jazz right alongside the sax and trumpet.  His friend Astor Piazzolla helped him in this conviction, and also aided his launching a “new musette” style of French accordion music with a new life. He adapted the three-four rhythm and harmonic style to jazz, and received the Django Reinhardt Prize for French musician of the year in 1993.

Galliano first got interested in accordion listening to Brazilian accordionists such as Sivuca and Dominghinhos. Then he moved on to the Americans Tommy Gumina, Art Van Damme and others. During his time in Paris he worked as arranger and conductor as well as composer on recordings by French stars and on soundtracks.  He later paired up with Toots Thielemans and Ron Carter, and he has also collaborated with Jan Garbarek, Martial Solal, Hermeto Pascoal and Gary Burton. In 2003 he released his album Piazzolla Forever.

Galliano continues to explore a vast range of music, as he does in this album. He says he needs to go back and forth in order to stay fresh. After working on Piazzolla tangos he says he is stronger in terms of lyricism, and when he plays tango after touring with Bach selections, he feels more precise.  In 2012 he did an album on the Resonance label with violinist Christian Howes and then performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in NYC.

This CD has some radically different tracks from the Galliano album. He composed and arranged the closing selection, “Lili,” which he dedicated to his 4-year-old granddaughter. It’s a duet of just Galliano and guitarist Anthony Wilson. Classics by Ellington and Coltrane are also on the disc. Galliano’s other original on the album is “Ballade pour Marion,” dedicated to Lili’s mother. “Plus Fort Que Nous” is another Francis Lai tune from the film A Man and a Woman (than the usual main theme), and “Why Did I Choose You” came from an obscure track on an old Bill Evans record.


01. Armando’s Rumba (C. Corea) 4:39
02. Canto Invierno ( D Grusin, L. Ritenour) 6:37
03. In A Sentimental Mood (D. Ellington) 7:09
04. The Jody Grind (H. Silver) 4:45
05. Ballad For Marion (R. Galliano) 5:07
06. The Island (I. Lins) 6:34
07. Plus Fort Que Nous (F. Lai) (5:49)
08. Why Did I Choose You (M. Leonard, M. Edward) 5:37
09. Verbos Do Amor (J. Donato, A.Silva) 5:23
10. Naima (J. Coltrane) 5:03
11. Mantiqueira (N. Ayres) 4:35
12. Lili (R. Galliano) 5:03


The first CD for DGG which Galliano did, on the music of Bach, became the best-sellling classical album of the year, and this is the second one, devoted to the filmscore themes of Nino Rota (who also wrote a lot of abstract classical music).

Rota wrote for the big screens of Fellini and created some of the most famous themes in cinema history by drawing on Italian folk music, street music and rural dances. Galliano plays an instrument that symbolizes popular music, especially in Europe, and explores the music of the people. In some ways, including the Italian derivation of their names, the two seem to go together. Several other jazz musicians have had a special interest in the compelling music of Nino Rota.

Galliano reports having had “an emotional shock” when as a child first hearing Rota’s score for La Strada. The majority of these 19 Rota themes Galliano picked up originally from watching the films they accompanied. When trumpeter Dave Douglas asked Galliano how to prepare for the recording session, he was told to just watch the Fellini films. The themes are mostly presented in a straight-forward way, without fancy arrangements, to highlight the terrific Rota melodies. Nobility and simplicity are qualities of the music that the performers bring out. Galliano chose musicians with a variety of cultural backgrounds. Reed player John Surman is an amazing British musician and freethinker who divides his time between two continents. Bassist Boris Kozlov, from Russia, played in the Mingus Big Band. The album closes with a Galliano composition he intended to mediate between New Orleans and Italy and shows that Rota’s music is truly universal.


The Godfather: The Godfather Waltz
La Strada
I Vitelloni – Themes
I Tre Suonatori
A Processione
Huit et Demi – La Passerella d’Addio
Solitudine di Gelsomina
Il Circo Giraffa
Il Matto Sul Filo
The Godfather theme
I Notti di Cabiria – theme
Zampano e La Vedova
La Strada – La Partenza del Convento
La Strada – Addio del Matto
La Dolce Vita – themes
Giulietta degli spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits)
Amarcord: Le Manine di Primavera
Amarcord: Theme

—John Henry

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