7 Jul 2022

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Stephen Galvin - Album Review: Modal Behaviour

02 Sep 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Stephen Galvin is a multi-instrumentalist who was invited to teach at the New Zealand Guitar Academy at the tender age of 23, before opening his own teaching studio in 1984. Since then, he has performed in bands of different genres, as well as teaching music to thousands of Aucklanders. This album was recorded in just two days with the assistance of David Feehan and his band, and while the correct description of the album is that of “jazz”, that it itself covers a multitude of styles and he certainly crosses through many in this album of mostly instrumentals, with just two with vocals within the ten songs.

The album commences with one of the vocal tracks, Django, which is a tribute to the mighty Django Reinhardt. Surely anyone who enjoys jazz has gone back in time to investigate the incredible Quintette du Hot Club de France which Reinhardt formed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, and this song not only tells the story of his life and that awful fire in words, but Galvin captures some of his famous style. Cleverly, he used a fretless bass instead of a guitar, which avoids any direct comparison and allows one to enjoy the song for what it is. From here on in we move through different contemporary jazz styles and even some blues, but there is never a feeling of rush, and instead one of clever arrangements and scoring. This is particularly true in Woody Would, where Stephen allows others to take solos, and then everyone comes in on the runs to bring it all home.

There are times when we move more into Latin territory such as the title cut, which has its base in the cha cha (being the father of a dancer I can attest that this is by far the most interesting number I have ever come across in that style), or even into blues, but always with the same control and clarity of thought in the lead melodies with strong support. This is not something which will challenge the listener, but instead is something that fans of all types of jazz can sit back and enjoy. The production is clear, with good separation, yet one always knows this was recorded by a band playing together as opposed to being spliced together from lots of different sessions, as it breathes and really lives.

If I could change just one thing about the album, that would be to move Django away from the beginning, just because it feels so very different from the rest of the songs, and someone who listened to just that may feel it is indicative of the rest of the material. Whatever the sequence though, this is a refreshing and delightful album.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Stephen Galvin

Stephen Galvin plays, guitar, bass, drums and vocals.

He is is an experienced, registered and qualified teacher of Music.

"I started playing jazz in my later teen years, and when I was 24 started working with the NZ Guitar Academy in Auckland, for which I wrote a course in guitar and bass playing. That led to me forming my own studio when I was 27, and that’s been my full-time occupation since then. So gig life has been a pleasant sideline to teaching and I’ve played in orchestras, church groups, music theatre, a lot of jazz gigs, private and café gigs, cover bands – ...”

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stephen Galvin


Modal Behaviour
Year: 2021
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Sonic Delusion - Single/Video Review: Fingertips
06 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to come across the incredible album When Turkeys Fly by Turkey The Bird which meant I was determined to see them when they came to Auckland and had an amazing evening. One member of that trio is André Manella, who has also been touring as Sonic Delusion, and over the last eight years he has played more than 800 shows and released five albums.
Gig Review: T-Bone @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 03/07/2022
03 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Down to Tuning Fork for an early start with doors opening at 5:30 and the whole thing expected to be over by 9:30! I was so glad that Al from Hoop sent me the running times in the morning otherwise I would have missed their set altogether as well as possibly missing the beginning of T-Bone!
EP Review: Ange.Mac + Shaun Garea
03 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
What we have here is the debut collaboration from Ange.Mac and Shaun Garea.
Gig Review: Pale Flag @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/07/2022
02 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tonight, I was supposed to be at The Tuning Fork for Ekko Park and Jordan Luck but the dreaded Covid had cast its spell and the gig was cancelled earlier in the week. I did a quick check to see what was on at Dead Witch and discovered there was a four-band bill and knowing three of them I could see it was going to be a good night so decided to head that way.
Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Say To Me
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Normally, when I am reviewing singles for MNZ the turnaround time we work to is 7 days and it is not unusual for me to work on far tighter deadlines than that, but Ayla was incredibly well organised with the promotion for her second single, and I have been playing this for the last 3 weeks at least. In that time it has become a real earworm, and I have even found myself singing it as I walk around (not a pleasant experience for anyone in the vicinity, let me assure you).
Ed Waaka - Single Review: E Kura
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It did not take long for me to fall in love with this song, probably the first 30 seconds I guess, as there is something about it which grabs hold the listener, puts them in a safe place, and lets the singer bare their soul. Soul, yes, this is full of it in a musical sense as well as an emotional one, and when I discovered he was singing about the upcoming birth of his first daughter, whether he would be a good father, and the need to reconnect to his Maori heritage it made a great deal of sense.
Danica Bryant - Single Review: Crush
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the lead single from Danica Bryant’s forthcoming EP, Ego Death, and if this is fully representative, then that is something to look out for. For a young artist she has already had considerable success, mentoring with Bic Runga while also gaining a support slot for Elton John on his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and while she has already tasted success on the NZ Hot Singles Chart, I am sure this is going to head the same way.
Tia Ward - EP Review: Me and Me Too
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This is the debut EP from Hawkes Bay singer Tia Ward, following on from two singles which were released ahead of time, Under Wraps and Paint Dry, both of which are included here. The first thing which the listener notices are her vocals, which are both understated yet firmly to the fore.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kate Bush
    Harry Styles
    Cat Burns
    Doja Cat
    Drake feat. 21 Savage
    Luude And Mattafix
    Jack Harlow
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem