percaso production CD 020

Christoph Gallio: soprano & altosaxophone / Daniel Studer: double bass / Marco Käppeli: drums

Composed by Christoph Gallio. Recorded at Radiostudio Zürich, 2001 December 15 & 16 by Andy Neresheimer. Edited and mixed at Elephant Château Studio Basel by Max Spielmann.Mastered at Gallus Tonstudio St. Gallen by Johannes Widmer. Liner notes by André Behr and Christoph Gallio. Text corrected by Dieter Lüdin. Foto inside by Beat Streuli. Graphic design by Anne Hoffmann. Cover Art: Christopher Wool

DAY & TAXI has been a distinguished improvising unit for over 15 years, and for most of that time, soprano and alto saxophonist Gallio was joined by drummer Dieter Ulrich and either bassist Lindsay L. Cooper or Dominique Girod. In 2001, Gallio rekindled the concepts of the trio , which now features bassist Studer and drummer Käppeli.

The music of this version of DAY & TAXI is dotted with angularity and keen incisiveness. Gallio alternates between connected phraseology and abrupt terseness, keeping the music in an ever-changing mode. He barks out sharp retorts on the stright horn and than glides easely into longer- formed lines of unstructured speech. The soprano selections are marked with acuteness. Gallio burrows deeply into the marrow of the compositions and rattles around the bone to produce music with chilling vibratos. The strident voice of the soprano dominates the soundscape with the eerie tonality.

On alto, Gallio takes a similar approach. The upper register is used extensively to cite his case. After short introductory theme statements, he reaches liftoff and spews out barbed phrases that mesh into a unified freeform statement. Studer and Käppeli aid and abet this push to the extremes. Studer sets up a rhythmic fabric around which Gallio carves his thick slices of meaty improvisations. Studer typically constructs a minitune on bass to give the spacecraft stability on its long flights into the unknown. In the arco mode, such as on “Laetitia Pop-Corn”, Studer adopts the obliquity that characterizes Gallio’s playing in opposition with his more fluid pizzicato playing. Similarly, Käppeli sets up a foundation of regulated drum cadence in contrast to the flights of fancy taken by Gallio. He gives pronounced emphasis to the session by jabbing and sparring with the other two. His short, unstructured drum sequences are repeated to become the jet fuel for orbiting.

Gallio remains true to his improvising muse with this version of DAY & TAXI. The selections are not overly long, but Gallio and the trio transdform each piece into a fully developed movement of an elongated suite. the pronounced freeform dissertations of this trio, while having stark density, resolve into a unified mass displaying an unpredictable element of warmth.Cadence, Frank Rubolino

Differences that exist between these two saxophone-bass-and-drums sessions hinge less on the fact that one trio is Swiss and one American (Bassist Mark Helias’ Open Loose trio), than the comparisons extant from a working group and a newly constituted one.

Guiding force behind Day & Taxi — which despite the name always has three members — is Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio, who composed the 13 pieces here. Over the past 15 years the soprano and alto saxophonist has worked with various rhythm teams and PRIVATE is the first CD featuring new partners, bassist Daniel Studer and drummer Marco Käppeli…. Leaving North America for Europe, Gallio is someone who says he’s more comfortable in the art scene than the music scene and has close affinity for Continental literature. Here, he has as many dedications for his minimalist tone poems as Ken Vandermark has for his tunes.

Although he has worked with Americans like bassist William Parker and drummer, Rashied Ali, plus Brits like bassist Lindsay Cooper, most of the reedist’s dedications and his orientation is decidedly non-Anglo-American. In terms of comfort level, his wispy Paul Desmond-like alto playing is pretty nondescript, he’s much more individualistic on his tart, Steve Lacy-influenced soprano sax. Paradoxically, the tunes, ranging from a mere 38 seconds to nearly eight minutes long, are both more experimental than Open Loose’s yet more constrained. But perhaps that’s the Swiss way. For example, “Quiet Days”, which despite its title is one of the more probing numbers here, finds Gallio expansively furrowing a line more lower-pitched than anything Lacy would imagine, and seeding it with tongue slaps and reed peeps. Studer, who also is part of band that reconstructs standards, slashes at his bass strings, with his bow, while Käppeli, who has also played with countrymen like reedist Hans Koch and cellist Martin Schütz, resorts to rim shots and the clink of his sticks against the side of his drums.

In great contrast, “Laetitia Pop-Corn”, a serpentine, Monk-like melody, was commissioned by a Sicilian label owner for a CD sampler and is dedicated to Swiss porn queen Laetita. Likely using a harder-than-usual reed, Gallio has an onanistic a cappella solos where he trills his ideas until the bowed bass pumps out a suggestion of “It Don’t Mean A Thing…” Studer, who spent nearly 15 years in Rome playing in anarchistic trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini’s quintet ,would likely appreciate this un-Swiss-like humor, as would Käppeli, who has written music for films and theatre and worked as an actor.

A memorial to a bassist-friend who killed himself, “Lament for Matthias” is suitably sombre, built on disconnected drumbeats, wavering alto line and squeals from the bowed bass. Then there’s “A Postcard for Andreas” and “Save”, two relaxed tone poems alive with the sort of undulating syncopation Helias sometimes creates as well. The second finds Gallio altering his elongated held tone with a bit of spetrofluctuation, smearing out notes in false registers so that its tone begins to resemble that of a taragato. Käppeli’s rhythms on the offbeat add to this Eastern European cast.

The first piece finds the rhythm section initially and metaphorically operating like the caricature of a Swiss pharmaceutical concern under laboratory conditions, with the bassist examining his strings one at a time and the drummer carefully positioning his snare work. It takes the bouncy theme, reprised a few times, to break the serious mood. Finally “Ann’s Wedding Song” is a joyous ballad using prominent, Latin American-like timbales and a clave pattern, while the bassist tries out a montuno beat. Absorbing Cuban inflections, the reedist plays higher than usual, expresses his emotion with double tonguing and false fingering.Two trio trysts: each different, each unique and both enjoyable.Jazz Weekly, Ken Waxman

Recorded in late 2001, «Private» starts a new chapter in the life of Christoph Gallio’s trio. For this fourth album, bassist Dominique Girod and drummer Dieter Ulrich have been replaced by Daniel Studer and Marco Käppeli. And you will notice the difference. This revamped line-up is meaner and hits harder. Gallio’s writing has evolved accordingly. It still shows a desire for restraint, but restraint doesn’t mean you can’t show your teeth. «Private» packs 13 pieces within under 50 minutes, a blend of developed compositions in the four-to-seven minutes range and a handful of short statements reminiscent of Gallio’s solo album «Mösiöblö».

The saxophonist still squeezes out of his soprano a few elegant melodies, but «Walter & Claudia», «Save», even «Ann’s Wedding Song» get dirty and delightfully jerky. Studer’s plucked lines boom out of the speakers, Käppeli manages to keep the basic rhythmic motif simple (a defining character of the group’s music) while adding flourishes outside the beat. And Gallio’s Lacy-esque grace makes way a few times to a much more urgent tone (in «Walter & Claudia», again). The music also leaves room for more free improvisation, as in «Quiet Days» where Studer whips out his bow to create scratchy textures. There was an element of repetition between 1998’s «About» and 1999’s «Less and More». «Private» succeeds in breaking away from that incarnation of the trio while staying true to its spirit.
All-Music Guide, François Couture


percaso production CD 020 ©+p 2003

Christoph Gallio: soprano & altosaxophone, Daniel Studer: double bass, Marco Käppeli: drums.

Composed by Christoph Gallio. Recorded at Radiostudio Zürich, 2001 December 15 & 16 by Andy Neresheimer. Edited and mixed at Elephant Château Studio Basel by Max Spielmann. Mastered at Gallus Tonstudio St. Gallen by Johannes Widmer. Liner notes by André Behr and Christoph Gallio. Text corrected by Dieter Lüdin. Foto inside by Beat Streuli. Graphic design by Anne Hoffmann. Cover Art: Christopher Wool

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