Joe Gallant

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Shadowhead Review

by Jesse Jarnow

Joe Gallant's dense compositions pick up where his freakishly stylized arrangements of the Grateful Dead's Blues for Allah and Terrapin Station albums left off: a vivid cross-section of New York's downtown musical life, cross-cutting with abandon among moods and feels like a hungry listener hopping from club to club. He uses his large ensemble, Illuminati, to his fullest advantage and their best talents, creating a blend that manages to be both chaotic and controlled simultaneously. Like Illuminati's recording of Terrapin, haunting female voices drift in and out, setting a spooky vibe further propagated by the arrangements. While there are brash stylistic crossings here, they all combine into a distinctly cohesive Gallant style that lies somewhere between big band and the avant-garde.

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