At first, the term “acid jazz” was a tongue-in-cheek way to describe the music of self-professed vibe tribe Galliano.
Now, like an Andrew Dice Clay standup routine, the joke has worn out its welcome.
“It’s an inadequate way, really, to describe what the scene is,” says Galliano percussionist Daddy Spry. “It gives a false impression that it involves drugs.
“I was reading a magazine not too long ago that follows the scene and even they were saying it’s a pretentious term, used by people who don’t know anything about that type of music, and that it’s embarrassingly uncool.”
Group leader and composer Rob Gallagher chimes in, with that tongue back in the cheek, “It’s all a big misunderstanding. We don’t do any acid …”
And, Daddy Spry fires back, “… we don’t play all that much jazz either.”
Whatever the elements – soul, dance, ska, rap, jazz, reggae – Galliano’s musical stew is ripe for U.S. success with its third album, “The Plot Thickens,” due Sept. 13 on Talkin Loud/Mercury.
Already a formidable act in England, charting and selling big with its first two albums, “A Joyful Noise Unto the Creator” and “In Pursuit of the Thirteenth Note,” Galliano was introduced stateside earlier this year with “What Colour Our Flag,” a compilation of the first two releases.
“The Plot Thickens,” which has sold more than 300,000 copies in England, picks up where “What Colour Our Flag” left off.
“We’re still defining the direction in which we’ve gone and where we’re going,” Gallagher says. “It hasn’t come down to any specific kind of music. If acid jazz was anything, it was an open-minded approach to use different melodies.”
Those melodies, meshed with messages of peace, solutions and a twinge of humor, are evident in pulsing tracks like “Was This the Time,” the eco-aware “Twyford Down” and a distinctive, virtually unrecognizable reworking of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Long Time Gone.”
“When we were on tour, we’d jump on the bus and play the stuff we’ve been into lately, like the first ‘CSN’ album (from ’69),” Daddy Spry says. “And then we’d get into other things like Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison.
“That one Crosby, Stills & Nash tune was a particular favorite. We’d sing it in the back of the bus and practice our harmonies.”
Gallagher says they heard that Crosby liked the track.
“It’s a great tune to begin with,” he says. “It speaks out about all the madness. That time in the late ’60s, there was definitely a vision there. Even though it was slacked off as drug-induced, at least there was a vision. There was hope. That’s where we’re coming from as well.”