Monday, February 27, 2023

These Sounds & Those Words


Argentinean-born pianist and composer Emilio Teubal creates music that shines with lyrical beauty, sparkling solos and interplay plus rhythms that make you dance and sway. His 2013 BJU release, "Musica Para un Dragon Dormido", is one of my all-time favorite albums. Teubal has been busy since moving to the United States over two decades. He writes constantly and has worked with artists such as bassist Pedro Giraudo, cellist Erik Friedlander, and various tango organizations and groups in the New York City area.  Currently, he leads a trio with bassist Pedro Lanouguere and drummer Chris Michael.

Those two musicians are the foundation of his new recording "Futuro" (Not Yet Records).  Recorded in several sessions in December 2021 and May 2022 (drummer Michael has been dealing with long COVID so Brian Shankar Adler appears on five of the 10 tracks, all recorded at the later sessions).  Joining the trio on three tracks is Sam Sadigursky (clarinet) and Fede Diaz (guitar) while vibraphonist Chris Dingman adds his sound to three other cuts.  From the opening measure of the opening cut (the title track), the listener is transported to sunnier climes.  The dancing clarinet and percussive guitar wrap around the warming piano figures. Bassist Lanouguere, who leads a quintet that Teubal is part of, is a rich melodic player with a full tone on both acoustic and electric; he also contributes fine bow work (he and the pianist play the opening melody of "Children of MMXX"––he then solos sans bow and is quite impressive there as well.

Photo: Sergio R. Reyes
Of the three tracks Dingman appears on, "Remolinos" stands out for its hypnotic piano figures and circular melody. There is a Steve Reich in the piano lines that is repeated by the vibes and the electric bass throughout. It certainly feels like all four musicians are percussionists and melody makers at the same time.  The vibraphonist also appears on the handsome take of Sir Paul McCartney's "Blackbird".  While the piece is the shortest track in the program (2:35), the arrangement allows everyone to shine and the melody to stand out.  

Photo: Sergio R. Reyes
The blend of the acoustic guitar and clarinet on "Los que Fluyen" hints at tango as well as Brazilian folk forms––Teubal's solo rises out of the main theme, dancing atop the guitar and electric bass then steps aside for Sadigursky to create a masterful, emotional, solo.  The quintet imbues "Tokyo Trenque" with such a gentle quality, caressing the melody while Adler's hand percussion clicks underneath.  The music picks up with intensity during Lanouguere's acoustic bass solo from which Teubal moves farther away without going "free" but much more impressionistic. The clarinet solo seems to move the rest of the band back to melody; after a quick climax, the music gently sighs to a close.

The album closes with "Los Ultimos Seran Los Primeros"  ("The last will be the first"), a wistful Trio piece dedicated to the pianist's father who passed in 2021.  The insistent quality in the piano solo allows the listener to hear touches of Keith Jarrett in the delightful two-hand work of Teubal.  As you listen to this track (and others), one can really tell that these musicians are in tune with each and with the material.  "Futuro" stands out as a work that celebrates life and melodic adventure without sacrificing the rhythms that have sparked the curiosity of Emilio Teubal since he was a boy.  Listen to "Rio" below––it's indicative of how the music incorporates its many influences to create sounds that please, hug, and brings joy!

For more information, go to  To hear more and to purchase the album, go to

Join the group on its journey to "Rio"

Photo: Jimmy Katz
What do you get when mix drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Mimi Jones, and saxophonist Jeff Lederer, give them two nights at the end of February 2020 in the newly reopened Cafe Bohemia in New York City, and let them loose.  It's the Leap Day Trio and now you can hear the results on "Leap Day Trio: Live at The Cafe Bohemia" (Giant Steps Arts). The music on the recording is spirited, lively, at times thoughtful, and very human. Messrs. Wilson and Lederer have been friends and musical partners on and off for three decades; adding Ms. Jones to their special mix neither tempers nor hinders their musical fun. Instead, she's a solid foundational player and a melodic soloist (check her out on "The Dream Weaver" and "Leap of Faith").

The nine song, 68 minute program, opens with Wilson's "Dewey Spirit", (listen below) a tune the drummer dedicates to one of his earliest mentors and employers, tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. Commencing with percussion and Lederer's spiky tenor sax sounds, the piece opens in rubato with Ms. Jones dancing underneath the melody line.  When the main theme kicks in, one hears a running bass line, swinging drums, and the saxophonist flying all around his horn.  Everyone solos, the energy is contagious, and the crowd enjoys it all.

Two of the next three tracks are ballads ("Leap of Faith" and "Ghost Town") but the track in between ("The Dream Weaver") rumbles along atop the pulsing bass and percussion.  "Ghost Town" is a fascinating journey through the musical terrains of blues, post-bop, and during the bass solo, the feel of Native American music. Lederer lets loose on the opening of "Strival For Survival"––that sets the tempo for the rhythm section and they rocket forward. When the tempo slows down for Ms. Jones fine solo, listen for Wilson's delightful work on the cymbals.

Photo: Jimmy Katz
The program closes with the spirited "For Friends"––again, Lederer leads off the piece with a solo introduction but one can hear from his exciting forward lean, the music is going to be fiery.  Even when the gentlemen step aside for Ms. Jones spirited solo, the music has great drive.  

One hopes that the Leap Day Trio doesn't only convene every four years. In the meantime, celebrate the group's music on "Live at The Cafe Bohemia".  

Hear Matt Wilson's musical tribute to Dewey Redman:

Trumpter, composer, mentor, and author Jeremy Pelt has just issued Volume III of "Griot: Celebrating the Lives of Jazz's Great Storytellers".  15 more interviews with artists whose ages range from 89 (Wayne Shorter) to 28 (Elena Pinderhughes) sharing insights into their musical and spiritual upbringing, how they each developed a singular voice, and the changes they have seen in this art form created by black musicians at the start of the 20th Century.  These are stories of resilience in the face of the racism that has never truly been eradicated in this country and in places around the world. Many of the artists speak of how the changes that other musical forms (styles) have brought to the music keeps it alive in the face of listeners and label owners apathy.  But you also read of how musicians have been mentored by their musical elders, about the rigors of the road, and the cost, mental and physical, of a musician's calling.  Still, there are joys galore in their retelling stories of their formative days and nights on and off the bandstand.  

Photo: Ra-Re Valverde
I have written before how "Griot" will remind older Black Music fans of "Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews", the 1977 classic interviews drummer Art Taylor compiled that featured 29 of the greats who helped push the music forward in the middle decades of the 20th Century.  Jeremy Pelt has given us the 21st equivalent of Mr. Taylor's book and, hopefully, he will continue to converse with his elders, contemporaries, and young people for years to come!

For more information and to order any one or all three volumes of "Griot", go to

No comments:

Post a Comment