Galper, Hal (actually, Harold)

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Galper, Hal (actually, Harold)

Galper, Hal (actually, Harold), jazz pianist; b. Salem, Mass., April 18, 1938. He studied with Margaret Chaloff and Ray Santisi; his primary influences were McCoy Tyner and Oscar Peterson. He became house pianist at such Boston venues as Herb Pomeroy’s club, the Stables, and Connelly’s, playing with Johnny Hodges, Roy Eldridge, James Moody, Art Blakey, Sam Rivers, and the Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land Quintet. He considered himself a free-jazz performer, and moved to Paris in 1960, hoping to find more success. After two discouraging months, he returned to Boston and gave up performing for two years. He sat in with Chet Baker at the Jazz Workshop in Boston and was hired to tour and record. During a residency in N.Y., he left Baker and returned to New England (1966) to play in the house band at Lenny’s on the Turnpike; Phil Woods was a guest soloist there. In 1967, Galper went back to N.Y., playing with Woods, Donald Byrd, Stan Getz, Chuck Mangione, Joe Henderson, and Al Cohn and Zoot Sims; he recorded three albums as a leader. In 1973, he replaced George Duke in Cannonball Adderley’s group, touring almost continuously until he left in 1975. Having decided to concentrate on acoustic piano, he wheeled his Fender Rhodes to a dock on N.Y/s Hudson River and threw it in. For the next year and a half, he played in a quintet with Randy and Michael Brecker, Wayne Dockery, and Billy Hart, culminating in an appearance at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival. He returned to work as a sideman, with Lee Konitz, Nat Adderley, John Scofield, and Slide Hampton. After sitting in with the Phil Woods Quartet in N.Y. (September 1979), he began a 10-year stint with Woods as pianist, composer, and arranger. He left Woods in August 1990 to tour and record with his own trio. He spends six months out of a year on the road; his trio in the late 1990s included drummer Steve Ellington and bassist Jeff Johnson. He has taught at N.Y/s New School for Social Research and various jazz camps, and has

been a guest lecturer and clinician at over 100 colleges and universities and at IAJE conferences in 1990–91, 1994, and 1996. His recordings have won several awards; he has over 100 compositions recorded, and has received numerous grants from public and private endowments.


Wild Bird (1971); Guerilla Band (1972); Inner Journey (1973); Reach Out (1976); Now Hear This (1977); Redux 1978 (1978); Speak with a Single Voice (1978); Portrait (1989); Invitation to a Concert (1990); Live at Mai/beck Recital Hall (1990); H. G. Quartet (1992); Tippin’ (1992); Just Us (1993); Rebop (1995).

—Lewis Porter