Brian Lynch and Spheres Of Influence: ConClave Vol. 2 (2011)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Trumpeter Brian Lynch's ConClave Vol. 2 arrives six years after the first installment and, while the personnel are completely different on each date, both volumes boast collections of intelligent arrangements that juxtapose Latin rhythms and Afro-Cuban musical elements against modern jazz ideals. Lynch's ability to create hybrid forms of music that blend seemingly dissimilar elements with ease comes into play on this second volume, and the musicians that he selects for the date reflect this melting pot mindset.
Cuban-born cookers like pianist Manuel Valera mix with young, American-born up-and-comers like drummer Justin Brown, and the results can be anywhere from explosive to expansive. A head characterized by clipped melodic phrases and some wonderful conversation between Lynch and saxophonist Yosvany Terry proves to be two different high points from the same song ("With A Single Step"), while Miles Davis' "Solar" is born again, with a bouncy bottom and some marvelous, montuno-like machinations from Manuel Valera. Funky, Eddie Harris-esque fare with a Latin twist ("Dance The Way U Want To") and straight-up blues (Kenny Dorham's "Blue Friday") aren't out of the question either, further demonstrating the versatility of these musicians and the varied interests that live within Lynch's mind.
While it's easy to marvel at the structural integrity and rhythmic complexity inherent within this work, it's the individual personalities at play that make this music something at which to marvel. Lynch's warm-toned trumpet work is at the center of Charles Tolliver's "Truth," and Valera's elegant, yet oblique solo work on "Magenta's Return" is superb. Pedro "Pedrito" Martinez provides a burst of energy whenever his hand drumming takes center stage, and Brown, along with bassist Luques Curtis, helps to navigate the multicultural, pan-stylistic rhythm road that this band uses to get from piece to piece.
While Lynch is occasionally viewed as a man who splits his time between jazz and Afro-Cuban music, this assertion is false. ConClave Vol. 2 demonstrates that the trumpeter brings elements from both worlds into his playing and writing, creating something wholly unique, yet completely connected to both genres.
Track Listing: The Downside Of Upspeak; Truth; With A Single Step; Magenta's Return; Solar; Dance The Way U Want; One For Armida; Blue Friday.
Personnel: Brian Lynch: trumpet; Yosvany Terry: alto saxophone; Manuel Valera: piano; Luques Curtis: bass; Justin Brown: drums; Pedro Martinez: percussion.
Record Label: Criss Cross
Style: Modern Jazz