|photo by Jeremy Zilar|
Throughout the album, the combination of the melodies and words are often filled with tension, the different stories being told capturing one's attention. "..Matt Sweeney" (Mateu) spreads over nearly 13 minutes with different rhythms, several solos, and the poet's voice, sometimes dripping with sarcasm, sometimes anger, even with genuine wonder, with "Pt III" sung in both Spanish and English. Mateu's gravely intro to "What Rose Is/Pamelia/ Cornelia St Café" sets the tone for the impressionistic images of a man fascinated with an older woman. In the middle of the piece, there's a long and powerful guitar solo.
The hypnotic melodies, the circular poems, the amazing interaction of voice and musicians, the multitude of sounds from the guitars of Miles Okazaki and keyboards of Andy Milne, the percussion barrage of Tyshawn Sorey, the two different narrators with their poems of the ever-shifting New York City, landscapes (physical and emotional), all that plus the arrangements by composer Alexis Cuadrado make this new project spring to life. The more you listen, the more you can hear how the different come together and complement each other. Part recital, part "poetry slam", often exciting, and always involving, "Poètica" shines.
For more information, go to alexiscuadrado.com.
Here's the ensemble in action from 2014, with both Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Melcion Mateu involved:
The title track jumps atop the circular piano ones, throbbing bass and forceful drums plus the lyrical tenor sax of Preminger. Since he first came on the scene, the young saxophonist has been an impressive voice and now has a blues sensibility to his phrasing (not unlike Don Byas or Archie Sheep). After a long bass solo, the saxophonist plays the plaintive melody of "Guns..." shadowed by the more colorful piano counterpoint. There is a similar setup on "Johnny...." with a strong bass intro (melody and more) from Kamaguchi before Preminger play the folk-like melody.
|Ottawa Jazz Fest|
For more information, go to www.robgarciamusic.com.
"Prelude To Real Life" is his 4th album as a leader and 2nd for the Criss Cross label. Three of the musicians who played on 2014's "Evolution of an Influenced Mind" return - Orrin Evans (piano), Walter Smith III (tenor sax), and David Gilmore (guitar) - and are joined by bassist Luques Curtis plus guests Nicholas Payton (keyboards on three tracks), Vivian Sessoms (vocalist on three tracks) and Antoine Drye (trumpet on one track).
The majority of the material utilizes the quintet to excellent advantage. There are 2 standards in the program, the understated but swinging rendition of Benny Golson's "Stablemates", the melody played by Gilmore and Smith III with the rhythm section dancing beneath them. Curtis, a native of Hartford, CT, takes a sweetly melodic solo before Evans, Gilmore, and the tenor saxophonist play succinct spots, all the while the leader moves deftly around his kit. A short group of solos from piano, drums and tenor sax leads the ensemble into a playful take on Thelonious Monk's "Skippy" (which is a good description of Edwards' accompaniment.) Ms. Sessoms adds her whispery yet articulate voice to Alex Sipiagin's "Way To Her", shadowed by the saxophone with counterpoint from Gilmore's vocal-like guitar phrases. She returns for the drummer's "Thought For the Day" with lyrics that touch on the various ills in society, taking a positive approach. The ensemble kicks it up several notches with the rhythm section leading the way during the fine solos (Smith III really pushes with abandon).
"Prelude to Real Life" is an album to play over and over, the program never gets tiring. Donald Edwards can be a "power drummer", like Rudy Royston and Eric Harland, but his control and how he plays in different situations really stands out. Highly recommended!
For more information, go to donaldedwards.com.
Here's the title track: