The GFS Trio, comprising Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, headline the just announced Miami International Jazz Festival, April 27-29.
Sosa and Fresu have recorded two albums as a duo, Alma (2012) and Eros (2016), including collaborators such as Brazilian cellist Jacques Morelenbaum and the Egyptian-Belgian vocalist Natacha Atlas, and they have been touring as a trio with Gurtu since 2014. (Check them here at the Ravenna Festival, Italy, a bit earlier, in 2011). This is the trio’s North American tour debut.
For complete lineup and more info check Miami International Jazz Festival.
Le Grand Tango The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla
Since first published in 2000, Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla by Maria Susana Azzi and Simon Collier has been a reference for fans, scholars and just about anyone interested in New Tango master Astor Piazzolla.
The emphasis here is not on musical analysis but the complex personal and musical history that helped shape one of the most intriguing figures in 20th century music. This updated edition — no doubt one of the many events that will help mark the 25th anniversary of his passing on July, 1992 — includes new material, updates on the Piazzolla family and his legacy, and new photographs.
Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla (2017 Updated and Expanded Edition, Astor & Lenox) is available on Kindle in Amazon.com
Over The Rainbow
**** (out of 5)
Flamenco and jazz are both a product of cultural fusion, created around the edges of polite society by members of a marginalized underclass. Miles Davis once called flamenco “the Spanish counterpart to our blues.” But flamenco and jazz also have substantial differences, including their sense of musical time, their harmonic language and their approach to improvisation. Not surprisingly, for decades, their relationship was marked by hopeful encounters that, more often than not, ended in awkward embraces and frustrated retreats. Born and raised in Cadiz, the heart of Andalusia, pianist Chano Domínguez, 57, grew surrounded by flamenco but also listening to Pink Floyd, Weather Report and Soft Machine. He learned to play guitar as a kid, but at 18, a fan of groups such as King Crimson, Yes and Genesis, Domínguez became the keyboardist of a rock band. Along the way, he also discovered jazz, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. In 1981, after three years and three albums, the band dissolved and, by his own account, he “got serious” about the piano.
The Chano Domínguez of Over The Rainbow, a solo recording at the Palau Falguera in Barcelona, Spain, in February, 2012, is a mature artist who has integrated flamenco and jazz in a personal and organic way. He revisits here some personal favorites from the Great Latin American Songbook (Atahualpa Yupanqui’s “Los Ejes De Mi Carreta,” Violeta Parra’s “ Gracias A La Vida,” Eliseo Grenet’s “Drume Negrita”) and, of course, Monk (“Evidence,” “Monk´s Dream”); nods to his former collaborator, Cuban composer Marta Valdés, by including her “Hacia Dónde;” and rounds up the program with standards such as John Lewis’ “Django,” the title track and a couple of original pieces.
Domínguez has a crisp, percussive attack and an angular, rather unsentimental approach to the material at hand. (His interpretations of Monk are both personal and spot-on idiomatic.) At ease with his personal mix, he doesn´t feel the need to underscore the jazz or flamenco elements in his music. “Mantreria” and “Marcel,” songs he wrote, dedicated to his children, are a case in point. The former might work as a flamenco guitar piece, the latter has the feel of a jazz standard. Elsewhere, the music often sounds at once familiar but different. (Listen to the accents and the phrasing in his single-note, bopish runs. Jazz with an accent indeed.) Fusion in jazz has frequently suggested a lab blend made by diluting the component parts. Chano Domínguez’s lived-in fusion suggests a vibrant and inexact mix — just like life itself.
*** (out of 5)
The debut recording on ECM of guitarist and composer Dominic Miller, best known for his 20 year plus collaboration with Sting, is mostly a solo affair (percussionist Miles Bould joins on a few tracks). Beautifully recorded, Silent Light suggests a collection of songs without words (it includes “Fields of Gold,” his nod to one Gordon Matthew Sumner). It has quite a broad sourcing – from Baden Powell and Bert Jansch to Egberto Gismonti, Antonio Lauro and Debussy. Perhaps his many years of backing up singers (Julia Fordham, Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Latin pop star Alejandro Lerner are just some of the names in his credits) have given a storytelling quality to Miller’s playing. He unhurriedly unfolds each piece without any flashy, look-at-me gestures or unnecessary runs. Rather, Silent Light is an elegant but unassuming celebration of sound, silence and those mysterious spaces in between.
Caipi (Heartcore) Ten years in the making, Caipi features all original songs by influential guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, who also plays all instruments. (Additional musicians include Eric Clapton and Mark Turner, each appearing on one track.)
The Seasons (Mavo Records), by Cuban pianist and composer Manuel Valera and his trio, with Hans Glawischnig, bass and EJ Strickland, drums. The centerpiece of the album is his four-movements Seasons Suite and various originals, but the repertoire includes a Cuban classic (“Tres Palabras” by Osvaldo Farrés) and songs by Leonard Cohen (“Hallelujah”), Cole Porter (“What is This Thing Called Love”) and Lennon & McCartney (“In My Life”)
The Dead Man (Pelin Music), by Costa Rican pianist, percussionist and composer Luis Muñoz and his quintet.
Sikame (Inside The Gold) (Biophilia) In her previous two recordings, Spanish singer and songwriter Lara Bello made her roots in Granada and the echoes of the Islamic culture of Al-Andalus, key elements in her brand of world folk-pop-jazz. In Sikame, aided by Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona, Spanish bassist Carles Benavent and keyboardist, arranger and producer Gil Goldstein, she also brings to it a distinct African feel.