Richard Galliano (born December 12, 1950, Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes) is a French accordionist of Italian heritage.
He was drawn to music at an early age, starting with the accordion at 4, influenced by his father Luciano, an accordionist originally from Italy, living in Nice.
After a long and intense period of study (he took up lessons on the trombone, harmony, and counterpoint at the Academy of Music in Nice), at 14, in a search to expand his ideas on the accordion, he began listening to jazz and heard records by the trumpet player Clifford Brown. “I copied all the choruses of Clifford Brown, impressed by his tone and his drive, his way of phrasing over the thunderous playing of Max Roach”. Fascinated by this new world, Richard was amazed that the accordion had never been part of this musical adventure. In this period, Galliano won twice the first prize in the “world accordion cap competition” which took place in Spain (1966) and France (1967). In the Spanish competition, the participants’ duty work was “Chaconne” by the Israeli accordionist Yehuda Oppenheimer. Galliano and Oppenheimer kept up their musical collaboration and personal friendship until Oppenheimer’s death in 2012.
Some later collaborations include Astor Piazolla, George Mraz, Brigitte Fontaine, Al Foster, Juliette Gréco, Charles Aznavour, Ron Carter, Chet Baker, Enrico Rava, Martial Solal, Miroslav Vitouš, Trilok Gurtu, Jan Garbarek, Michel Petrucciani, Michel Portal, Eddy Louiss, Biréli Lagrène, Sylvain Luc, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Ivan Paduart, Anouar Brahem, Wynton Marsalis, and Toots Thielemans. He was a key member of Claude Nougaro’s band for several years as a pianist and accordionist. (wikipedia)
The French accordion-virtuoso Richard Galliano is an exceptionally versatile musician, able to make his mark in all kinds of musical contexts, from solo appearances to playing with a full big band.
Quite early in his career, his friend and ‘Tango Nuevo’ creator Astor Piazzolla had advised him to stay true to his roots and establish a kind of ‘New Musette’. Galliano’s exceptional abilities as a soloist are now well-recognized, and he continues to explore a vast range of music, without ever losing that lyrical quality that infuses the ballads on Love Day that he recorded with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Charlie Haden and Mino Cinelu, or the French Touch which allowed him to make the link between Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, with the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
For La Strada Galliano has gathered a squad of leading-edge transatlantic jazz musicians. His latest project is an homage to the great film composer Nino Rota (1911–1979) who, a.o., composed the music for all of Fellini’s movies and whose score for Coppolas’s Godfather remains unforgotten. (taken from the festival programme)
The studio album with music from Nino Rota:
Nino Rota’s timeless movie themes interpreted by an elite international jazz quintet featuring Dave Douglas on trumpet, John Surman on reeds, Boris Kozlov on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. Listeners attracted more by the lineup than the material should note that the jazz shades and subtly skews the compositions rather than taking them over, and that Surman in particular isn’t much heard outside of his ensemble role. The group’s jazz energies make the biggest difference in the engine-room, with the superb Kozlov and Penn applying circus-music strutting, 1950s Miles Davis swing-groove hipness, brooding drama and New Orleans funeral-march rhythms as needed. Douglas’s brassy, slewing lines whirl across La Strada – Tema and he and Surman then switch into 50s Miles Davies mode over Penn’s rimshots – with the saxophonist probably delivering his most straight-ahead recording in decades. La Strada Processione is a Carla Bley-style dirge; The Godfather Love Theme is exquisitely played by Galliano against only a bass commentary; Surman sounds Sidney Bechet-like on La Notti di Cabiria; and Giuglietta Degli Spiriti is gurgly free-improv that turns into a Latin dance. They are beautiful themes, and this set prioritises their sympathetic rendition. (by John Fordham)
Recorded live at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin/Germany, 4 November 2011
excellent broadcast recording
Dave Douglas (trumpet)
Richard Galliano (accordion, trombone)
Boris Kozlov (bass)
Clarence Penn (drums)
John Surman (saxophone, clarinet)
Taken from the festival proramme (written in German):
01. The Godfather: Waltz 1.41
02. La Strada 2.07
03. I Vitelloni 10.47
04. I Tre Suonatori / La Processione 6.40
05. Huit et demi / La Passerella D’Addio 6.05
06. Solitudine Di Gelsomina / Il Circo Giraffa 4.31
07. Il Matto Sul Filo 2.06
08. The Godfather: Love Theme 5.20
09. Gelsomina 1.49
10. I Notti Di Cabiria 7.26
11. Zampano E La Vedova 1.35
Music composed by Nino Rota
More from Richard Galliano: