Although he plays guitar exclusively on two of the eight selections included on this CD reissue, it is Toots Thielemans' harmonica playing that is most unique. He holds his own on a hard bop blowing date with baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Art Taylor, jamming on such songs as "East of the Sun," "Struttin' with Some Barbeque" and "Isn't It Romantic." Even four decades later, no jazz harmonica player has dethroned the great Toots.
Recorded between 2003 and 2007, United We Swing finds an unparalleled array of musical talent that collectively boasts 94 Grammy Awards joining Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis (a nine-time Grammy Award winner himself) and his Septet. Together, they perform blues-inflected versions of iconic American repertoire and celebrate the red, white, and Blues.
In the hands of Richard Galliano, the mechanical intricacies of the accordion become agents of a compelling musical power, grace, and expression. A virtuoso of the instrument, Galliano exploits the complete orchestral potential of the keys, buttons, and air beneath his fingers. On Laurita, his musicianship is put in the service of utterly swinging jazz that is informed by the romantic and impressionistic influences of Galliano's French-Italian heritage. Call it the soundtrack for the boulevardier who likes to chase his espresso with a shot of bop. The core group on this 1995 session is Galliano, drummer Joey Baron, and bassist Palle Danielsson — a formidable trio in which Baron's muscular, musical touch and Danielsson's rich tone and technique have unfettered space to interact with Galliano's multiphonics.