Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Hal Galper's only problem is that his side men are more well known than he is. Notoriety aside, it was clearly Galper's show Wednesday night at Blues Alley, where is his quintet opened a four-night stand.
Featuring the Breckers - Randy on trumpet and reedman Mike - Galper faced the possibility of being overshadowed. He clearly was in charge, though, opening "Reach Out," the title cut of the quintet's forthcoming album, with a shimmering piano solo and then providing a moving backdrop for individual efforts by both Breckers.
Their work, less traditional here than one might expect from a Galper aggregation, was a bit frenetic but pure jazz improvisation - in this case fast and exploratory. It was an interesting contrast to the brothers' own albums which aim at a broader audience through more popular rhythms that often verge on disco.
Galper, whose style is slightly reminiscent of McCoy Tyner and who has supported Chet Baker, Stan Getz. Cannonball Adderly and locals Donald Byrd and Sonny Stitt, among others, obviously enjoys his capacity as group leader. His keyboard introduction to "Waiting for Chet" laid the foundation for more powerful solo work by the Breckers and set the mood for group and individual playing from bassist Wayne Dockery and drummer Bob Moses, a late replacement for Billy Hart.
The standard "I Can't Get Started" offered a change of pace and another uptempo Galper composition. "This is the Thing" - featuring a standout Brecker brother duet and a tasteful drum solo by Moses - rounded a versatile set.
The Hal Galper Quintet will be performing at Blues Alley through Saturday.