Gallery: s/t (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 for all 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.

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One thought 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.

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