Without a cursory glance at the classical glossary, the term “chamber” might be a bit off-putting. No, it’s not music to be tortured to, nor the ambiance you’d hear in a musty dungeon. Instead, when we talk about “chamber music“, we’re really referring to palatial arrangements and efficient approaches that rely more on cooperation between players relative to their performance space, basically allowing a room’s acoustics to take on a character of its own. As a genre modifier, jazz and folk are perhaps the most analogous modern styles you could revolve into the chamber, thanks to their emphases on solo ability and roots in large hall venues. So in an era where we can digitally replicate reverb across thousands of different room designs with the click of a button, it’s heartwarming to hear artists continue to employ this centuries-old technique.
Among those with technical respect for their sonic surroundings? Los Angeles pianist-composer Christina Galisatus. Galisatus spent her adolescence internationally touring with a symphony orchestra playing French horn, but by the time she started college, she’d fully returned to her childhood love of the ivories. Stanford degree now on the mantle, Christina Galisatus is eager to share her own variety of evocative, jazz-folk vibrations.
This Friday Christina Galisatus gifts us her debut full-length Without Night, an amazing encapsulation of chamber-adjacent live concert magic. At sixteen tunes (a baker’s dozen of originals plus two interludes and a reprise), each harmonic reflection is a remarkable moment of nuance, only made possible through an interaction between Galisatus, her backing sextet, and their acoustic environment. Without Night also marks Galisatus’ first foray into formally writing lyrics, an experience that lends itself to the LP’s sense of rumination and resonance. But before Without Night hits wax this weekend, Christina’s lit a wick that illuminates the album’s dulcet discipline and dynamic range. The ensemble’s synchronicity both with each other and their shared space glows throughout “Candlelight”, like a torch-in-sconce that taper off the walls, floor, and ceiling into an almost amorphous luminescence.