jueves, 4 de diciembre de 2014

Ivan Renta - Take Off A Musical Odyssey (2013)

Source: chipboaz

A sideman’s job in jazz is to do more than simply supports the efforts of the leader standing in front of them, they also have a duty to develop their own artistic sense through the experience.  With every new job, they absorb everything that the leader has to offer and then push back with their own personality.  For many developing musicians, this isn’t a singular experience – the most defined musicians have spent ample time working with a number of influential leaders.  Some folks make a career working for other leaders, and over time, they forge a hugely identifiable and personal sound.  At that point, they stand out on any album they touch, helping raise the level of each project with their clear sense of self and artistic mastery.  At that point, leading their own recording is a given and the results are often inspiring.  They’ve already done the work of defining themselves artistically, so we get to hear a mature and confident collection of music.  Saxophonist Ivan Renta has spent years playing alongside some of the most important names in Latin Jazz, and that experience shows on his debut Take Off A Musical Odyssey, as he asserts a strong musical personality through a hard hitting, bold, and exciting performance.

Hard Bop Vocabulary, Clave Sensibility, Passion, & Fire

Renta boldly presents his approach to contemporary Latin Jazz with several uptempo, aggressive, and spontaneous songs.  An explosive and complex percussion break sends the group charging into an edgy groove grounded by a fragmented bass line on “Take Off,” while Renta lays down a strong melody filled with both short rhythmic ideas and long flowing phrases.

The saxophonist assertively leaps into his solo, winding around pianist Edsel Gomez’s sharp chordal attacks with flying streams of bebop lines and rhythmic intensity.  Gomez builds tension immediately with mind bogglingly syncopated ideas, continually pushing his improvisation into a ferocious climax before falling into a propulsive montuno behind an impressive display of percussion chops from Richie Flores.  Gomez and Renta share melodic duties on Chick Corea’s classic composition “Matrix,” fitting the propulsive melody over into the modern Latin Jazz context with a bit of tension and a lot of energy.  The saxophonist burns through an extended solo with an aggressive approach that comes alive with hard bop fire and a syncopated connection to the clave, inspiring forceful interaction from the rhythm section.  Following Renta’s lead, Gomez races into a powerful improvisation that scorches through intensive idea development that pushes the rest of the band to its limits, opening the way for a brief but smartly melodic solo from bassist Ruben Rodriguez.

A massive percussive break explodes over Rodriguez’s bass vamp, sending the band flying into an intesive momentum on “Nuyorican Groove” while Renta boldly lays down a Coltranesqe minor blues melody.  Gomez takes no prisoners as he attacks his solo with a fierce rhythmic energy that inspires ripples of interaction, until Simpson flys into an uptempo swing behind Renta, letting him charge through his improvisation with a modern sense of bop.  Rodriguez’s bass takes on a percussive edge as he fills his solo with a mix of melodic runs and drum like attacks, leading the group back to the melody and a ferocious exchange of rhythmic ideas from Simpson and Flores.  These tracks find Renta attacking the music at full steam, improvising melodies with with a hard bop vocabulary and a clave driven rhythmic sense, full of passion and fire.

A Thoughtful Artist Expressing Himself Transparently

Renta also demonstrates that he’s a thoughtful artist with a wide range through more reflective pieces, delivered with a bit of edge.  The saxophonist provides a tender introduction over sparse rhythm section accompaniment to “Carmen” before moving into a gorgeously lyrical melody that intertwines with a beautiful counter melody from trombonist Luis Bonilla over a gentle danzon rhythm.  As the two musicians draw the melody to a close, Gomez moves to the front of the mix with a wonderfully understated solo that combines the introspective nature of the piece with his unique musical approach.Renta and Bonilla take a brief return visit to the melody before wandering into creative lines that twist into a charming collective improvisation full of traditional ideas and clever interplay.  There’s a reflective tone to Renta’s playing as he moves through the melody to “Apoyate En Mi Alma” with plenty of space between his phrases and bluesy embellishments reminiscent of Sonny Rollins.  The swinging ballad feel behind Renta affords him plenty of room to stretch his phrases, develop ideas across long amounts of time, and separate his playing with carefully placed pauses.

In so many ways, this track stands out on the album, as we experience a more gentle and introspective side of Renta’s playing that shows his deep connection to straight-ahead jazz.  Heavy synth patches over the clave driven groove of drummer Ernesto Simpson and Flores’ congas give a rich fusion sound to “Rioma,” which comes alive through a catchy melody that blends long tones and occasional rhythmic edges.  The smoky sound of Renta’s tenor sax provides a nice contrast to the synth backdrop, letting him fly above it with long streams of running notes and an undeniable personality.  Trumpet player Nelson Jaime moves into his improvisation with a strong conviction, bouncing around the groove with agile dexterity, a good sense of timing, and an open ear to the rhythm section. 

There’s a lazy swagger to the rhythm section as Renta carefully shapes a reflective melody full of blues inflections on “Melancolia,” a  laid back ballad with plenty of space.  Renta embraces the flowing texture of the song, building his solo from spacious licks into screaming runs filled with an deep emotional intensity.

The texture thins again as Gomez moves into his solo, exploring every edge of the harmony, mixing color tones, purposeful dissonance, and sheets of sound into a wonderful statement.  A different side to Renta’s musicianship appears on these tracks, showing a musician with the ability to express himself transparently in beautifully exposed settings.

A Thrilling Performance Full Of Artistic Maturity

Building upon his years of experience, Renta delivers an outstanding performance on Take Off A Musical Odyssey that’s full of artistic maturity, masterful playing, and engaging interaction.  From being mentored by master musicians like Mario Rivera to playing alongside Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Arturo O’Farrill and more, Renta has soaked in lessons from the best and applies those ideas with power.There’s a burning sense of New York authenticity to Renta’s playing that overflows with echoes of his experience in the city’s active and knowledgable jazz and Latin music scenes.

Renta has a modern bop flair to his playing that overflows with intensity, leading him through long running phrases and clever note choices, all delivered with a Coltrane edge.  He has an intimate understanding of the clave, letting him build rhythmic ideas that both lock directly into the groove and push back against its edges.  Gomez serves as a perfect foil to Renta’s improvisational personality, approaching the music from a deeply intellectual perspective that often has him toying with the outer edges of the harmony while racing forward with an exilharating spontaneity and rhythmic momentum.  Flores, Rodriguez, and Simpson provide the perfect balance between a smart adherence to the clave and a loosely interactive sense of swing that leaves plenty of breathing room for improvisational expression.  All of these elements make Take Off a thrilling musical experience that shows Renta’s readiness for the leadership role; while we certainly hope to hear more of Renta’s presence alongside other musicians, Take Off A Musical Odyssey leaves us hoping for along list of Renta led projects in the near future.

1. Take Off (Ivan Renta)
2. Carmen (Ivan Renta)
3. Matrix (Chick Corea)
4. Nuyorican Groove (Ivan Renta)
5. Rioma (Nelson Jaime)
6. Apoyate en mi alma (Luis Tamargo)
7. Jugando (Ivan Renta)
8. Melancolia (Ivan Renta)

Ivan Renta - tenor sax
Edsel Gomez – piano
Ruben Rodriguez – bass
Ernesto Simpson – drums
Richie Flores – congas
Luis Bonilla – trombone (2)
Giovanni Hildalgo – congas (5)
Nelson Jaime – trumpet (5)

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Engines Orchestra + Phil Meadows Group - Lifecycles (2014)

Lifecycles marks the launch of the brand new Engines Orchestra. London's freshest cross-genre orchestra here to collaborate with musicians to promote new music. Their first project sees banks of strings, brass and woodwinds team up with the critically acclaimed Phil Meadows Group. Throughout Lifecycles, the music remains highly melodic with elements of folk and classical lyricism sitting alongside lush jazz harmony. Violinist Alice Zawadzki also adds vocals during some of the suite's climaxes, whilst jazz harpist Tori Handsley lends another flavour to the band’s distinct sound.

Lifecycles explores a series of situations that we all experience. The people we meet, love and lose shape our emotional responses. They define our headspace, alter our moral compass and leave us beautifully confused as we choose our pathways through life. Control is a state of mind as faith, politics and science try and rationalise a society bigger than any individual. Nothing is tangible apart from the present and it’s the way we choose to react in the moment that defines who we are and shapes the Lifecycles we lead and those we remember.

Special Thanks:
To bring a project this large from a thought to reality takes an incredible amount of energy, passion and enthusiasm from everybody involved. We would like to thank all the people who have, and continue to offer their help and support in the development of the orchestra. Particular thanks goes to Help Musicians UK and the Whittingham family whom through the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award allowed this dream to become a reality. Further thanks goes to Arts Council England for supporting the research and development of the music, allowing us to create truly collaborative record where every musicians voice has been heard. A final thank you goes to the musicians for their amazing energy, inspiration and time and to Tim Garland for his advice and enthusiasm for the project.

01. Missing Days 05:09
02. Lifecycles 05:19
03. The Spark 01:41
04. Intoxicated Delirium 06:08
05. Euphoria 02:47
06. Prelude 03:30
07. Remembrance 05:43
08. Celebration 06:07
09. Strife of Life 01:42
10. Twice the Man 08:53

Phil Meadows Group: 
Phil Meadows (composer / saxophones)
Laura Jurd (trumpet)
Elliot Galvin (piano)
Conor Chaplin (double / electric bass)
Simon Roth (drums / percussion)

Engines Orchestra:
Conductor: Matt Roberts
Brass: Jim Davison (trumpet); Eddie Morgan (french horn); James Buckle (bass trombone)
Woodwinds: Jennah Smart (flutes); Rob Cope (clarinet / flute); Gennie Joy (bass clarinet / clarinet)
Harp: Tori Handsley
1st Violins: Emily Davis (principal); Tom Aldren; Alice Zawadzki (+ vocals); Katherine Waller
2nd Violins: Minn Majoe (principal); Kirsty Lovie; Claire Sledd; Connie Chatwin
Violas: Matt Maguire (principal); Joe Fisher; George White
Cellos: Zosia Jagodzinska (principal); Gregor Riddell

Production Team: 
Executive Producer: Alex J Watson
Producer: Phil Meadows
Studio MD: Tim Garland
Studio Engineers: Gary Thomas, Jez Murphy (assistant)
Mixing and Mastering: Andrew Tulloch (The Blue Studio, London)

Released 24 November 2014

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Rafael Zaldivar - Drawing (2014)

"I am glad to present to you Drawing, my second recording, in which I had the opportunity to work with exceptional musicians. With this album, my greatest wish was to capture the images of various artistic manifestations like literature, dance, drama and painting. Such images served as a guide which helped me to organize my music and create colors through my sound. Thus, the drawing of this album consists of seven original compositions, two great classic Cuban songs and two pieces from the jazz tradition." RZ

01. Drawing
02. Punto fijo
03. Rule Of Third
04. Work
05. Chan Chan
06. Tap Dance Blues
07. Zig Zag
08. Clarobscuro
09. Shadow
10. Wake up and Dream: What is This Thing Called Love?
11. La Comparsa

Rafael Zaldivar (piano)
Remi-Jean Leblanc (double bass)
Philippe Melanson (drums)
Eugenio Osorio (percussion)
Lisanne Tremblay (violin)
Greg Osby (saxophone)

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Rafael Zaldivar - Life Directions (2010)

Back in March 2009, Cuban-born pianist Rafael Zaldivar won the 4th annual Jazz en Rafale Jupiter-Vandoren New Talent Contest. And here at last is the long awaited result of his achievement: a debut album entitled “Life Directions”. The album contains 12 tracks, most of them original compositions. Each piece represents a short story depicting various moments, individuals, and experiences which have marked the pianist’s life.  The album also contains a composition by drummer Kevin Warren, Changing Rooms, and two excellent versions of pieces by Monk: Off minor and Four in one.

Rafael Zaldivar grew up in a family of musicians, and has been playing piano and percussions since the age of 10. Throughout the album you can hear the distinctive percussive quality of his rapid and precise playing style, reminiscent of Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum, his main sources of inspiration. subject of music. With Nicolas Bédard on double bass and Kevin Warren on drums, Rafael has founded a fresh young trio displaying perfect osmosis, delivering original and modern jazz with an intense Cuban beat.

01. Guajira
02. Aguas de Tinajon
03. Delfina
04. Cimarron (Part 1)
05. Cimarron (Part 2)
06. Baila Mi Changui
07. Changing Rooms
08. Li
09. Four in One
10. Life Directions
11. Off Minor
12. Remembering Felito

Rafael Zaldivar - piano, keyboards, percussions
Nicolas Bédard - double bass
Kevin Warren - drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins