In the liner notes that he wrote for his 2006 session Furious Rubato, Hal Galper discusses the style of playing known as rubato and explains why it interests him so much. The veteran acoustic pianist has a lot to say on the subject of rubato; one point being that it has been used by everyone from Fryderyk Chopin to Megadeth), but Galper (who turned 68 in 2006) really gets to the essence of this post-bop album when he speaks of musicianship that "moves the body in a swirling, circular kind of motion" instead of having a "toe-tapping" effect. Furious Rubato, to be sure, is not toe-tapping jazz; the performances of Galper's cohesive trio (which employs Jeff Johnson on upright bass and John Bishop on drums) are quite impressionistic. Furious Rubato does not contain free-form or radically avant-garde pianism of the Cecil Taylor/Marilyn Crispell variety, but it does favor an approach that Johnson correctly describes as "freedom with form" -- and this album's use of impressionism keeps the intrigue factor high on material by Galper and Johnson as well as interpretations of John Coltrane's "Naima" and two Miles Davis standards: "Miles Ahead" and "Milestones" (the bop song Davis played with Charlie Parker in 1947, not the modal gem he unveiled in 1958). Furious Rubato never goes out of its way to be accessible; this is challenging music, without a doubt. But the rewards are high if one is not intimidated by the complex and the cerebral.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson