The New York City Jazz Record review by Stuart Broomer

Ricardo Gallo’s Tierra de Nadie – The Great Fine Line (CF 209)
Colombian pianist and composer Ricardo Gallo here launches his New York-based “Tierra de Nadie,” or No Man’s Land, a terrain in which “genres, or national and/or racial identities keep becoming wider and blurrier.” It’s an apt description of his compositions, which freely draw on Latin and jazz traditions, mixing melodies, rhythms and ostinatos from his South American background with boppish chord changes, counterpoint and loose improvisatory forms from jazz. It might also suggest the special fluidity of the band that Gallo has put together, with a frontline made up of saxophonist Dan Blake and trombonist Ray Anderson. While Blake plays forceful tenor on a couple of tracks, he’s usually on soprano, improvising with quicksilver runs and providing a high-spirited, piquant and chirping contrast to Anderson’s brilliant bluster. The latter is genuinely spectacular, leaping around then ooks and crannies of his horn’s range, with subtly shifting vocal mannerisms on every note. His extended solo on “Three Versions of a Lie” is a kind of master-class in the trombone’s expressive possibilities. While bassist Mark Helias provides a fluid continuous anchor, there are two drummers here, shifting duties. Satoshi Takeishi is alone for roughly the first half, then switches to assorted percussion for the last, ceding the drum chair to Pheeroan akLaff. The combination of the two creates tremendous rhythmic verve on the Latin-esque “Hermetismo” and “South American Idyll”. The CD is also a feature for Gallo the pianist, who comps with the forceful inventiveness of Andrew Hill and possesses a chameleonic lyricism that can be freely rhapsodic (his introduction to the traditional jazz-flavored “Stomp at No Man’s Land”), move loosely through rhythmic knots (“The Intervention”) or create the glassy, abstract soundscape of “Improbability”. Gallo has assembled a first-rate band and given it plenty with which to work.


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