This 1991 appearance at the Port Townsend Jazz Festival by the Hal Galper Trio, with the pianist joined by bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Steve Ellington, is a delight from beginning to end, with extensive workouts of four of the five songs. "Hey There," a hit for Rosemary Clooney, is a surprising choice to open the set, though the trio's imaginative treatment of it makes one wonder why it isn't played more often. "I'll Remember April" is one of the most recorded standards in jazz, but Galper's initially sauntering arrangement gradually builds up steam as they delve further into it. An intense Latin-flavored workout of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is followed by the infrequently performed Dave Brubeck-Paul Desmond blues "Balcony Rock," which Galper describes as "going for low, for down, for nasty." The only relatively brief track, at just under five minutes, is his shimmering duet with Coolman of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," which is played as a reflective ballad rather than at the typical racehorse tempo. Galper's humorous introductions add flavor to this highly recommended live CD.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden