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Born: New York, February 19, 1958

With a thoughtful sense of traditional jazz vocabulary and a beautiful respect for melody from a world of sources, William Galison creates a fresh and individual voice on an instrument that scant few players in the jazz world have mastered- the harmonica. His playing transcends the pure jazz idiom with a sophisticated approach to harmony and a soulful lyricism that makes his music as intelligent as it is moving.

William Galison

Quote: Here is a person who has accumulated a wealth of musical accolades, despite his young career,"just passing through" from the US, and playing his superb music for us.
After hearing him live I can honestly say that the "voice" of this jazz harmonicist was sublime and something with which I had never had direct experience.
As Wil intimated during the performance, the call for "real" harmonica players has subsided somewhat since the development of digital sampling. But this master leaves no room for the simulations of the musical digerati.

William Galison with Carly Simon.

In his own words: Let s see. I m most comfortable right now on the 270 which is the 12-hole chromatic. But I will use a 64 in certain recording or performing situations if the tune is more R & B. I endorse Hohner, and think they do make the best sounding harmonica. I love the sound of a wooden comb it s warmer, but I play plastic because I play hard and really stress the reeds a lot. I ve spent thousands of hours working on harmonicas. It s kind of a hypnotic and therapeutic thing. As for equipment: I like the Audio-Technica ATM45 a dynamic microphone like the Shure 58. I think it flatters the harmonica. I don t use any distorting microphones like the Green Bullet because I figure if I want to compress or limit the sound in some way, I might as well do that with the amplifier or pedal. I also generally go through the P.A. though I have a KORG Toneworks foot pedal so I can do my own EQ and reverb, etc

Hohner "Toots Mellow Tone"with F&R Farrell "Lifetime comb"
Hohner "Toots Hard Bopper"with F&R Farrell "Lifetime comb"
Hohner 270 chromomica in "B"
Hohner 280 "64 Chromonica"
Filisko blues harps (rebuilt Marine bands)
Mark Lavoie smoked maple combs (rebuilt Big River Harps)
Audio Technica ATM45 dynamic microphone
Trace Elliot Acoustic Cube Amplifier
Neumann km 54 microphone
Korg footpedal
Shure wireless system

William Galison

Born and raised in New York City William's earliest musical training was in
classical piano, but at the age of eight he switched to guitar, the better to
emulate his heroes, The Beatles. He pursued the guitar throughout his high school years, during which time he acquired his love of jazz, and went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, at the age of eighteen he again decided to change instruments, because, as he puts it, "I was one of a million guitarists at Berklee". Inspired by the playing of Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder he became the only harmonica player at the school and played "till I got dizzy".
While attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut, William studied with the late saxophonist Bill Barron and was also inspired and influenced by the university's renowned program of world music. Returning to New York in 1982, he quickly made a name for himself, playing at such clubs as the as the Village Gate, the Blue Note, and the Lone Star Cafe, with musicians the likes of Jaco Pastorius and Jaki Bayard. His own group attracted an enthusiastic and loyal following while performing weekly at Preacher's Cafe in Greenwich Village.

In recent years Galison's unique sound has been heard in an impressive
variety of musical contexts. He has performed with artists across the entire spectrum of popular music. From rock legends Sting and Carly Simon, to jazz greats Eddie Gomez and Les Paul to Brazilian stars Astrud Gilberto and Toninho Horta. Recently, he made his classical debut, performing Gordon Jacob's "Suite for Harmonica and Orchestra" to critical acclaim. His harmonica has been featured on the stage- in the national tour of the Broadway musical "Big River", among others and in the soundtracks of many movies including "The Untouchables" and "Bagdad Cafe", both nominated for Academy Awards. He is also heard many television shows (including the theme of "Sesame Street") and countless commercials.

Most notable, however, are William's own recordings, which feature his
playing and include many of his compositions. These include two CD's on PolyGram's Verve Forecast label: "Overjoyed" which hit #6 on the contemporary jazz charts, and "Calling You" among more recent releases on various labels. He has also recorded as co- leader with other major talents around the world, including the Australian cabaret singer Janet Seidel and the American chanteuse, Madeleine Peyroux.
William has also played as a side man on albums by some of the legends of Jazz and Popular music. Recent credits include albums by Barbra Streisand, Ruth Brown, Peggy Lee, Chaka Khan and many others. But for all these varied recording credits, the scope of William's unique expression can best be appreciated in his live performance, whether in an intimate duo or with his dynamic quintet.

Over the past 20 years William has delighted audiences in clubs and festivals throughout the US and around the world.
In addition to his Harmonica virtuosity, William is also an accomplished jazz guitarist and a composer/ lyricist with many published works of instrumental and vocal music.
Toots Theilemans, the "papa" of jazz harmonica has called William "The Most Original and Individual of the New Generation of Harmonica Players".

William Galison performing with Les Paul.

1988 - Overjoyed, Polygram
1997 - Midnight Sun, Eclipse Collage
2000 - Waking Up With You, JVC
2001 - Love Letters, (with Janet Seidel
Calling You, Polygram

Also Appears On:
Christy Baron - I Thought About You
Marlla BB - Mercy!
Christy Brown - Steppin'
Ruth Brown - Songs Of My Life
Peter Gallaway - Night In Time: Live
Kathie Lee Gifford - Born For You
John Gorka - Temporary Road
Deborah Henson-Conant - Talking Hands
Chaka Khan - Woman I Am
David Lahm - Jazz Takes On Joni Mitchell
Peggy Lee - Peggy Lee Songbook
Maureen McGovern - Baby I'm Yours
Bob McGrath - Sing Me A Story
Ivan Neville - Thanks
Craig Peyton - Tropical Escape
Craig Peyton - Web
Ruben Rada - Montevideo
Jon Secada - Amor
Soundtrack - Bagdad Café
Soundtrack - Prelude To A Kiss
Soundtrack - Way West
Louise Taylor - Ride
Tony Terry - Tony Terry
Various Artists - Carols Of Christmas
Various Artists - Red, Hot & Rio
Dar Williams - End Of Summer
Dar Williams - Mortal City

1988 - Bagdad Café
1992 - Prelude To A Kiss
1994 - Crooklyn
1995 - Way West
"The Untouchables", music By Ennio
Morricone, dir. Brian Depalma
"Tremors", music by Ernest Troust
dir. Ron Underwood
"Truth about Cat's and Dogs" w/ D. Farris
"Bean" with ODM

"Saturday Night Live" NBC
"Sesame Street" PBS
"The Great Depression" PBS
"Natalie Cole with London Symphony" PBS

William Galison

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