Still, it's Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day for remembering how lucky many of us are. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, time to read, the ability to walk most streets without fear, heat in our domiciles, lights in our living areas, and, for some, vehicles to take us out into the country. Today is a good day to get away from the bluster of candidates, especially who treat democracy as a toy to throw in the trash when it displeases, people who flaunt their wealth, shoot off their mouth, point fingers, and make promises to sweep personal freedoms under a big rug.
Tomorrow, the news will still be bad, the bluster will return yet we have the power to make the world less of a scary place by celebrating and protecting our freedoms, by staring hate in the eyes until it blinks and slinks away. Set an example of doing good and maybe, just maybe others will join you. No matter their religion, gender, political persuasion, we should all understand compassion and how to practice compassionate caring. Can't hurt to try––the music is always there to fall back onto.
|Photo: Jimmy Katz
The album closes with "Silencio"; composed by legendary Puerto Rican songwriter Rafael Hernández (1892-1965), the rapid-fire music belies song title and flows forward on the delightful alto solo atop the dancing piano lines. When Perdomo steps out, you can hear a touch of the New Orleans "Spanish Tinge", especially in his delightful left hand.
"El Arte Del Bolero" is a joy from start to finish. The duo of Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo reminds us once again of the great music created in the Caribbean and Latin America; they do so with style, grace, and love!
For more information and to purchase the recording, go to https://miguelzenon.bandcamp.com/album/el-arte-del-bolero-vol-2.
Hear the duo play Rubén Blades' "Paula C.":
While the duo of Miguel Zenón and Dan Tepfer has not played together as long as the one reviewed above, these two musicians have improvised numerous times over the past decade-plus. Over two nights in June 2018, they got together at the Yamaha Artists Services in New York City and laid the tracks that make up their first album together. "Internal Melodies" (Main Door Music/self-released) combines the duo's love for spontaneous composition, pieces each composed for the occasion as well as a duo interpretation of "Fanfares" by György Ligeti and a sparkling take of "317 E 32nd St." by Lennie Tristano.
The album closes with the Tristano classic plus another spontaneous piece "Freedrum". The former is a delightful romp, the duo bringing out the dancing quality of the rhythm and melody. The final track combines Tepfer's piano "percussion" with Zenón's playful melody for a short but spirited finish to a wide-ranging program. "Internal Melodies" goes in many directions over the course of an hour but Dan Tepfer and Miguel Zenón never lose their way. Their musical conversations can be serious or light-hearted; all told, this music is generous in spirit and a delight to listen to!
For more information and to purchase, go to https://dantepfer.bandcamp.com/album/internal-melodies.
Hear the duo play Zenón's "La Izquerida Latina Americana":
Although alto saxophonist and composer Andrew Rathbun has been recording and touring since the late 1990s, he's still gets recognized a "Rising Star" in recent Downbeat Critics Polls. That's a nice honor but he has created music that needs to be heard by more people. The Toronto, Ontario, Canada native has recorded impressive music for labels such as Fresh Sounds New Talent Records, Origin, Centaur, and SteepleChase. Along the way, he has collaborated with pianists Ran Blake, Jeremy Siskind, and Gary Versace, flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler, drummers Billy Hart, Michael Sarin, Bill Stewart, and Jeff Hirshfield, among others.
|Photo: Domenic Gladstone
The soprano is featured on the ballad "Wandering"––in the liner notes, Rathbun pays tribute to the late Wayne Shorter, particularly the "human cry" that the great musician often employed in his playing. There's a sense of urgency in the rhythm section but the deliberate pace never wavers. Excellent solos from pianist and bassist precede the leader's spotlight where Rathbun shows but never overdoes the Shorter influence. More soprano can be heard on "Velocity Unknown", a fascinating piece in an odd time signature (9/4). Rainey's delicate cymbal dance decorates behind the opening bass solo. Rathbun enters two minutes with his own delicate sound. Every time you think the music will erupt, the quartet gathers themselves and continue their gentle journey forward. The power in this piece comes from Rathbun's powerful solo as well as Versace's impressive improvisation.
"Speed of Time" closes with "Tooth and Nail", an insistent work powered by the active drumming. The piece opens with short exposition from Rainey joined quickly by the tenor sax. After the quartet push their way through that long introduction, the music jumps forward with the drums and bass stoking the fire for the impressive tenor and piano spots. This particular track sounds even better at a higher volume, the drums shaking the speakers.
Andrew Rathbun keeps "rising", keeps getting better as a composer and musician––this album is yet another fine example of his musicality and creativity.
For more information, go to https://andrewrathbun.com/.
Here's the title track: