In his fifth decade as a major jazz artist, Hal Galper continues to innovate as a popular pianist within the genre.
A student of the piano from the age of six, Galper entered the Berklee School of Music in Boston on a scholarship in 1955 and studied technique with the famous Madam Chaloff. He quickly gravitated to the city’s jazz clubs, supplementing his formal Berklee training by studying the performances of such Boston stalwarts as Jaki Byard, Sam Rivers and Herb Pomeroy.
It wasn’t long before Galper had soaked up enough practical jazz knowledge that he was employed as house pianist at The Stables, Lennie’s On The Turnpike and Connelly’s, leading Boston jazz emporiums. Beginning his international performing career in a three-year stint with trumpeter Chet Baker, he went on to be an integral member of the bands of Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods.
He also worked with Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz and Roy Eldridge, among dozens of other major jazz figures. Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Galper formed one of his most critically acclaimed groups as a leader in the early ’70s.
With trumpeter Randy Brecker, his saxophonist brother Michael, bassist Wayne Dockery and drummer Billy Hart, the new Hal Galper Quintet debuted at Sweet Basil in New York’s Greenwich Village, eventually recording four albums including Reach Out, Speak With a Single Voice, Children Of The Night and Redux 78.
Galper’s discography includes 103 albums, with 33 of them under his name. He is a leader not only as a performer but also as an educator, with emphasis on theory, performance and the worldly side of music as a profession. He was a founding member of New York’s New School Of Jazz And Contemporary Music and recently retired from his 14 year tenure at Purchase Conservatory.