Rick Gallagher | Snowriding

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Mood: Christmas
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by Rick Gallagher

Holiday jazz presented by a hot jazz trio. This disc brings the joy and warmth of the Christmas season to your home, featuring holiday classics arranged in fresh, swinging new ways, and a playful winter-spirited original.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Silver Bells
4:11 $0.99
2. Snowriding
4:15 $0.99
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
5:59 $0.99
4. The First Noel
4:38 $0.99
5. Carol of the Bells
5:13 $0.99
6. Wonderful Christmastime
3:38 $0.99
7. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
5:39 $0.99
8. I Saw Three Ships
4:03 $0.99
9. Joy to the World
3:55 $0.99
10. Here We Come A-wassailing
4:56 $0.99
11. Caroling, Caroling
3:43 $0.99
12. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
3:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Christmas jazz, holiday jazz.

Jazz pianist Rick Gallagher has been a part of the Pittsburgh music scene since the late 1980's. Over the years Rick has done solo and group work in a wide range of contemporary styles but has found a voice as a player and composer in classic jazz. He has worked with many of the area's top performers and bands as well as solo piano work at diverse venues such as the historic Grand Concourse; the Gandy Dancer Saloon piano bar; and the PPG Holiday Series. Regularly Rick can be seen with small groups at Palomino and Pines Tavern, the Orchard Hill Church worship team, and the Boilermaker Jazz Band, as well as his long-standing spotlight as the pianist with the US Steel Tower and One Oxford Center downtown. Gallagher is noteworthy for his classic jazz style, creative arrangements, and his memorable originals.

Rick has five recordings as a feature artist and has played on a number of other CD’s as a sideman. His recordings have been played on hundreds of radio stations across the United States, and Canada including nationally syndicated jazz shows like “Jazz After Hours.” They all include Rick’s rich harmonic concepts, lyrical melodic ideas, creative arrangements and soulful organic sound.

A Pittsburgh native and father of four, Gallagher received a Bachelor of Music at Duquesne University where he studied under the mentorship of David Budway. His influences include Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Red Garland, Vince Guaraldi, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Benny Green, Ray Brown, Wynton Kelly, Cyrus Chestnut and George Shearing. He currently balances his performances with teaching, arranging, composing and recording. Rick is available for studio work, jazz festivals, concerts, church performances, and other private and public events.

Credits include:

Jazz Christmas, iTunes Essentials (2007) - Various Artists
Coldwater Creek: Home for the Holidays Volume One (2004)
Coldwater Creek: Home for the Holidays Volume Four (2007)
Divine Unrest (2007) - Tamarack Road Productions

-About "Snowriding"-

Following the success of "A Sleigh, A Song, and a Baby Boy", Rick's second holiday release, "Snowriding" brings the warmth and joy of the season home to you again. Joined by Paul Thompson on bass, Thomas Wendt on drums and George Jones on percussion, Snowriding features a winter-spirited original title track along with a unique mix of holiday classics re-arranged in his traditional jazz style. The crisp, lively swing of "Silver Bells," and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" is complimented by the warm, peaceful ballad renditions of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Comforting waltzes "Carol of the Bells" and "I Saw Three Ships" are balanced by the Latin-gospel grooves of "The First Noel" and "Joy to the World." His best recording yet, Gallagher has redefined holiday favorites, so bundle up, relax and enjoy the "snow ride."



to write a review

Tamara Turner, CD Baby

As a spirited follow-up to his last Christmas jazz CD, "A Sleigh, a Song, and a Baby Boy," which became a CD Baby editorial favorite, "Snowriding" is of the same dazzling and swinging quality, showcasing, with remarkable innovation, standard Christmas carols and a few more modern songs like Paul McCartney’s "Wonderful Christmastime". With a knack for creating sparkling arrangements that are both accessible to the public while appealing to jazz connoisseurs for their hip style and rich, harmonic vocabulary, his album could be said to ring a bell like a cross between Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi. However, there is nothing derivative about the approach; his interpretations of these classics are most grabbing for their creativity and personality and the natural way they spread jolly good cheer amongst the most scroogiest of scrooges. On top of that, each one of his players performs with incredible ease and fluency, conversing with the rest of the trio in exceptionally-literate synchrony. There's not one aspect of the holidays for which this album won't add elegance and spunk. In a nutshell, we couldn't be happier to see that Rick Gallagher is continuing to keep the holidays bright and bouncy.


Snowriding is a premier, straight-ahead, holiday jazz recording.
Pianist Rick Gallagher approaches traditional Christmas fare (save for the original title cut) with a traditional piano trio. While not as outgoing as Skafish, Gallagher has refined chops to burn and shows them off on the upbeat opener “Silver Bells,” where he incorporates blues and country elements in his playing. “Snowriding” is a Vince Guaraldi-inspired romp via A Charlie Brown Christmas, full of block chords and Dave Brubeck rhythm changes. Think “Linus And Lucy” crossed with “Blue Rondo A La Turk.” “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” is played as a ballad with a “Little Drummer Boy” undercurrent. “The First Noel” has a slight Latin flair and “Carol Of The Bells” a McCoy Tyner a al John Coltrane tension.

A welcome surprise is the elevation of Paul McCartney's “Wonderful Christmastime” into the seasonal canon where it has always belonged. The Frank Loesser “What Are You Doing New Year's Eve” provides the bona fide standards angle. “I Saw Three Ships” is beautifully off time and jointed. Snowriding is a premier, straight-ahead, holiday jazz recording. Where Skafish chooses to explore, Gallagher chooses to plow even furrows of sound and time.

Davis Enterprise

Pianist Rick Gallagher's brand-spanking-new Snowriding(Ridgetone Music 6244) arrived at literally the last second, and I'm sure glad it did. I didnt get to shout 'Stop the presses,' but playing this CD the required minimum of three times 'while still making my deadline' was a bit of a scramble.

Worth it, though. I covered Gallagher's first seasonal release, A Sleigh, a Song and a Baby Boy, in 2003, and rated it one of the year's keepers.

This one's even better.

With ample support from his sidemen - Paul Thompson (bass), Thomas Wendt (drums) and George Jones (percussion) - Gallagher delivers a set of truly tasty jazz: solid solos, well-rehearsed give-and-take between musicians, and inventive arrangements that never stray too far from the melody.

The song selection is good, as well; "Here We Come A-Wassailing" (cute delivery on that one) and "Caroling, Caroling" don't pop up that often on holiday jazz albums, and this disc also features the first jazz cover I've ever heard of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime."It's a clever presentation, highlighted by the just-enough use of background jingle bells.

The handling of "Joy to the World" is equally inventive; the carol emerges as a medium-tempo strut of the sort that would bring the congregation to its feet. "Carol of the Bells" and "Silver Bells" are lively finger-snappers, the latter featuring a lovely bass solo by Thompson.Gallagher includes an original composition, "Snowriding," which boasts Vince Guaraldi-style piano hooks and occasionally echoes that composer's "Skating." Gallagher's work is equally catchy; if this is any example, he should write more stuff.

The album concludes with Gallagher's haunting, solo piano version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear": the perfect way to conclude a sublime collection of music.

--Davis Enterprise, Derrick Bang, Sacramento, CA, December 2006

Jeanne Devin

A nice addition to my Christmas collection.
No wonder the other reviewers, who are more expert in jazz than I, are raving about this album. I have a few jazz Christmas CD's, but this is the first which is so creatively arranged and performed that it requires one's full attention. Just as it would be discourteous to a story teller if a listener lent half an ear to the story and another on partying or private conversation with a companion, it would seem inappropriate to relegate these selections to background music for a cocktail party. The arrangements are so original (even on the standards), and the expression so complete that, even though one could classify the selections as mood music, I would consider them especially appropriate as concert material to showcase Gallagher's genious. However one feels about the recording, there's no doubting that it's a wonderful addition to any Christmas collection.

Jazz Week

Most musicians only get one opportunity to make a Christmas album, but Gallagher has followed his excellent 2002 A Sleigh, a Song, and a Baby Boy with a terrific new piano trio (plus percussion) collection. As with the first, Gallagher's arrangements succeed by keeping the tune familiar without sacrificing the jazz. Traditional and contemporary tunes are joined by his original uptempo waltz title track. Also check out "Silver Bells," a Latin-tinged "First Noel," Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," and a bluesy "Joy To The World."

--Jazz Week (Ed Trefzger), December 2006


Listening to Rick Gallagher's Snowriding as I sit in my living room waiting for the sun to come up, I am reminded of just how cool things can be with the right atmosphere and the right music playing. I had trouble downloading to the laptop all of the tracks from the advance CDR copy of Snowriding, so I went a-problem solving, and found the old portable CD boombox, and found a solution somewhat outside my routine (and my comfort zone), and I find that Rick G.'s jazz piano quartet has instantly soothed me back into my comfort zone. Wow!

In addition to his own composition Snowriding, there are another 11 tracks of traditional carols, dressed up in the jazz tradition of such greats as Vince Guaraldi. Gallagher is impressive on piano: playing with a light hand and adept at improv riffing, he makes a cool sound. His band doesn't let him down either. Bassist Paul Thompson, drummer Thomas Wendt, and percussionist George Jones, combine to produce as sweet and complete a jazz ensemble noise as I can remember hearing.

I have never been a huge fan of jazz, but over the years I've become a discerning listener of it. And Rick Gallagher's Snowriding is good jazz.

--ChristmasReviews.com, October 2006