sat 02/03/2024

CD: Elliot Galvin Trio - Punch | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Elliot Galvin Trio - Punch

CD: Elliot Galvin Trio - Punch

A unique sound-world created from the endless resources of jazz, classical and pop

Elliot Galvin: an exhilarating feast for the ears

Ludic, ironic, kaleidoscopic, highly stylised, this follow-up to the Elliot Galvin Trio’s acclaimed 2014 debut, Dreamland, packs an exhilarating feast for the ears into its shortish 38-minute time frame.

Like that greatest of musical magpies, Igor Stravinsky, who was able to creatively distort any style that appealed to him, from medieval music to the music of the Second Viennese School, Galvin similarly dips in at will to the endless resources of jazz, classical and pop music history to create a sound-world entirely his own.  

Punch, the trio’s debut for Edition Records, sees the pianist and composer expanding the sound palette considerably. He adds kalimba (on “Tipu’s Tiger”), stylophone and melodicas (the crunching dissonances of “Blop”), accordion (the player piano-type polyrhythms of “Hurdy-Gurdy”) and cassette player (on the brilliantly caustic album opener, “Punch and Judy”), and achieves the singular plucked effect on “Lions” by covering the strings of the Steinway grand with duct tape. Completely attuned to Galvin's aesthetic world, the versicoloured contributions of bassist Tom McCredie and percussionist Simon Roth capture the intricacies of Galvin's music with playing that's rich in tonal and dynamic contrast.

In addition to the sorrowing chorale of “1666” and the rather Django Bates-like “Cosy”, the album’s emotional centre is a towering interpretation of “Mack The Knife”, the opening murder ballad from the 1928 Brecht/Weill “play with music”, The Threepenny Opera, which is as far away from the safe and sanitised X Factor crooner versions of the song as you can get. Tapping into the tone of unadulterated anger and scorn of Brecht’s original vision, from the ominously simple opening statement of the theme on glockenspiel, the trio whips up a gut-wrenching tour de force.

Plaudits, also, to Marco Birkner for the thrilling immediacy of the recording, which was made at Studio P4, Funkhaus, Berlin (the former GDR radio).


Watch a clip of “Blop”

The towering interpretation of 'Mack the Knife' is as far from the sanitised 'X Factor' versions of the song as you can get


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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