Gallery: s/t (ECM 1206)

ECM 1206

Gallery

David Samuels vibraharp, percussion
Michael DiPasqua drums, percussion
Paul McCandless soprano saxophone, oboe, english horn
David Darling cello
Ratzo Harris bass
Recorded May 1981 at Sound Ideas Studio, New York
Engineer: David Baker
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Another enigmatic outlier in the land of the as-yet-to-be-reissued, Gallery follows in the tender footsteps of First Avenue. Its talents are immediately sent skyward in “Soaring,” where the sprightly vibes of Dave Samuels find complement in bassist Ratzo Harris and cellist David Darling, both of whom roll off Michael DiPasqua’s delicate snare and cymbals like words from a poet’s tongue. Darling takes some of the album’s most gorgeous improvisatory turns here. His fluid lines continue in “Prelude,” a duet with Samuels that shares the same breath with “A Lost Game.” The latter is transitory, not unlike the album as a whole, playing out especially in the rhythmic crosspollination between vibes and drums, slung ever so delicately by the bass’s curves. Paul McCandless lays the gold foil of his own beauties with a soprano sax solo that takes this configuration to greater heights, surpassed only by the reflective cello that follows. “Painting” sounds like a Gavin Bryars ensemble piece, unfolding into the remnants of a Morton Feldman dream before awakening in the harmonic contract of a “Pale Sun.” On then does the “Egret” drop us in limpid vibrations, where only a hushed “Night Rain” shows us the final trail.

As the album’s title indicates, this music offers a row of artful images. Yet rather than guide us through a linear passage of creative relics, it brings that passage to us, so that we need only observe…and listen.

<< Old And New Dreams: Playing (ECM 1205)
>> Ralph Towner/John Abercrombie: Five Years Later (ECM 1207)

4 thoughts on “Gallery: s/t (ECM 1206)

  1. Another of my all-time favorite ECM’s, and one of those (like Adelhard Roidinger) that is just too obscure, under-appreciated, even, it seems, by ECM. In my mind this should have been the first of many Gallery recordings. I love Double Image, but still this ranks even higher in my estimation.
    A couple of years after this came out, Samuels was teaching music at a New Jersey college and he regrouped Gallery for a one-off free concert on a Sunday afternoon. It was magic. Mike Dipasqua was off drumming in Jan Garbarek’s quartet at the time (I actually saw Garbarek’s quartet with Dipasqua play in New York city the very night before the Gallery concert and Paul McCandless himself was in attendance in the audience). The drummer chair for the Gallery concert was filled by an unknown drummer-possibly a music student of Samuels is my guess. Ratso Harris was also not a part of the group-his position was filled incredibly by a very young and obviously talented Marc Johnson on bass-just a short time before he became well-known in the jazz (and ECM) world. Johnson was so comfortable with the music you would think he had played with the band for years. Naturally the mainstays at that point were there-Dave Samuels, Paul McCandless and David Darling-whom I had the chance to talk to after the concert. Darling is a wonderful, warm person. I received an email from him a couple of years ago and was thrilled to say the least.
    I remember Darling told me of this unusual project he had recorded as a duo with Terje Rypdal which hadn’t yet been released. This turned out to be the “Eos” album.
    I’m still hoping someday for another Gallery project.

    1. Thanks for your comment Gary. What an interesting story.
      I totally agree: this album is under-appreciated, even by ECM lovers. I’ve found here the unique blend of intelligence, creative power and delicateness.
      For me the quintessence of this blend is in “The Lost Game” – a piece where each instrument has its own unique voice which coexists perfectly with other voices and helps to tell a common story. It’s incredible that such a treasure came from a drummer’s pen. The repeating two-note phrase by soprano saxophone in the end of the piece has a healing effect on me — it always tells me: “Get up!”, “Chin up!”, “You can!”. The shoulders gradually straighten at this moment, and the desire to act comes.
      So sometimes the lightest thing can have the most powerful impact. And that’s definitely what this album did to my musical worldview.

      1. I agree totally Sergey. Often the most subtle, easy-to-overlook things in music can touch us in such a profound way that we have to wonder how thousands of others can fail to notice these exact same moments as you pointed out in ‘The Lost Game’.. That happens often with music from ECM i’ve found, at least for me personally.
        Sadly, DiPasqua stopped playing totally and passed away a few years ago. I sure wish he had continued as he was in a very small group of my personal favorite drummers with Jon Christensen and Jack Dejohnette. I only got to see DiPasqua live once myself-at that previoulsy mentioned Jan Garbarek concert the evening before the Gallery performance. I got to speak to talk with DiPasqua briefly after that concert-he was incredibly nice and I complemented him on an incredible drum solo he had played at that concert. What a band alomg with Eberhard Weber (a personal favorite) and Bill Frisell. I had no idea at the time that in only a few years DiPasqua would stop playing and recording. During our brief conversation he told me that he had just finished another project that he seemed proud of with a ‘German bassist’. I kept my eyes open for probably another year to 2 before one day I finally spotted (in the ‘Imports’ bin of a very large New York City record store) the Adelhard Roidinger album he was making reference to. I was so glad to have found that, as I had long forgotten the bassists name and figured I might never find the album he was talking about. Oddly the American record company distributing ECM at the time deemed the Roidinger album too obscure to bother to release it here in the Sates so I was thrilled that I found it at all.
        Now with DiPasqua AND Dave Samuels gone and Paul McCandless dialing back his own performances it seems unlikely that there would be a Gallery reunion, although I had held out hope for years right up until Samuels passed away.

  2. Thanks for your comment Gary. What an interesting story.
    I totally agree: this album is under-appreciated, even by ECM lovers. I’ve found here the unique blend of intelligence, creative power and delicateness.
    For me the quintessence of this blend is in “The Lost Game” – a piece where each instrument has its own unique voice which coexists perfectly with other instruments and helps to tell a common story. It’s incredible that such a treasure came from a drummer’s pen. The repeating two-note phrase by soprano saxophone in the end of the piece has a healing effect on me — it always tells me: “Chin up!”, “You can!”. The shoulders gradually straighten at this moment, and the desire to act comes.
    So sometimes the lightest thing can have the most powerful impact. And that’s definitely what this album did to my musical worldview.

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