How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
On A Child's Smile, Adrian Iaies sheds the Argentinean persona that occasionally shrouds his music. Here the pianist has become a complete, swaggering, swinging entity, and one who melds his mentorsHank Jones
into an entirely new entity. The result is a brooding artist who looks deep within his wandering soul. His personality is complex and wonderful. He is a musician and a colorist who plays with the multiple shades of light and dark. He is a dancer with a quick-step and a sensuous pirouette, a creator of whirling, wispy clouds and waltzing circles; reverent rumbas and mesmerizing boleros, hidden in the heat of his bebop figures. And he is a sculptor of vorticist structures who creates music in architectural proportions, in harmony with and full of the energy of nature that surrounds him.
A fine example of his outstanding artistry is "Veinte Misas," a chart that begins with a wonderful bittersweet melody that starts to build up in intensity from its second verse. The spiraling harmonic structure is crafted around a beat that echoes and taps its way sonorously into the heart, while Iaies spins the melody like a mythical creature, weaving harmonic layers onto the song until it reaches swooning point. Here, bassist Ezequiel Dutil wrestles the song from the pianist, moving it into a space where it glimmers with the harmonics that he adds onto it. While the melody returns after a short chorus-and-a-half of bass solo, the song is now at a different level of intensity. This is very much the case with much of the content on the album, in the gentle shuffle of "T M I Tiemai" and the waltzing "Lezama."
Iaies' take on Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," played at a higher intensity than the original and swinging in a funkier fashion, indicate at once that the pianist is not averse to swinging with absolute abandon. "Esa Sonrisa es un Santo Remedio" is a slightly noir waltz, played with stately beauty, largely as a duet between bass and piano. It is here that the bassist outdoes himself in the well-tempered manner he treats the melody, while overlaying colorful harmonies, one atop of the other. Brilliantly virtuosic accordionist Raul Barbosa guests on "Alfonsina y el Mar" and "Loca Bohemia," with exquisite piano and bass soaring beautifully. On "Una Corto Uno Largo," Iaies makes bull use of his wonderful sense of tempo, couching his pianism in a palette of astounding brilliance as well. Here, it is drummer Pepi Taveira's turn to shine, with his commanding use of brushes and accents to convey the melody of rhythm.
It may just be that Adrian Iaies has outdone himself yet again, with A Child's Smile.
Track Listing: T M I Tiemai; Lezama; Veinte Misas; Just The Way You Are; Esa Sonrisa
es un Santo Remedio; Alfonsina y el Mar; Una Corto Uno Largo; Loca
Bohemia; Marai; Red Kelly and Winton Garland at Loprete's House;
Cuando ya me Empiece a Quedar Solo.