” less and more”

unit UTR 4121 CD

Christoph Gallio: soprano & altosaxophone
Dominique Girod: bass
Dieter Ulrich: drums

Composed by Christoph Gallio. Recorded August 2 and 3 1997 by Martin Pearson at Radio Studio SF DRS, Zürich. Edited by Max Spielmann at elephant château, Basel. Mastered by Peter Pfister, Berikon. Cover Art: Alex Katz

The oddly-named Day & Taxi are a regular trio playing somewhere between cool and free, and hence occupying much the same territory as Steve Lacy, to whom Gallio is most easily compared. Gallio is indeed a soft-toned soprano player, something of a rarity on the notoriously intransigent horn. His compositions have some of the complexity disguised by whistfulness which Lacy seems to enjoy so much, too.

This disc is substantially similar to their previous Percaso release, as polished and accessible a disc of non-harmonic jazz as you’re likely to find, with a pleasingly live and spontaneous sound (both records are beautifully produced). Gallio is all melody, with no apparent interest in chord structures at all, something which strongly distances him from Lacy, and often, as on tracks like the ballad “Ann’s Tune”, he’s happy as Larry turning out unpreposessing linear gestures with a rather diffident phrasing.


Christoph Gallio | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

Put him in a quicker tempo and Gallio can cook, in his own way. He rarely resorts to noodles, and his playing can take you unawares just because his tone is so smooth and seems to gently coax rather than forcing the issue. Quite without knowing how it happened, you may well find yourself engrossed by one of these solos, which start so softly-spoken. A very attractive way of working, and one which is hard to keep up, because the temptation in such unrestricted surroundings must be to open up and yell out from time to time.

Girod and Ulrich continue to provide stirling support for Gallio’s poetic musings. There’s less solo space for them here than on the previous release, which is sort of a shame, but it might mark a part of the maturing process. Perhaps the trio as a whole no longer feels that individual solos are so important, and that the act of “comping” can be just as musically satisfying. Certainly Gallio’s solos are often understated enough to allow his colleagues to stretch out and come into prominence. At its best — and that’s pretty often — this group can elevate all of its constitutive voices to the same levelk of importance, and that’s a rare thing in any jazz, though it’s almost universally sought after. Richard Cochrane