How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
From Ficciones' opening title track, Aldemar Valentín's ensemble wastes no time in heading right for the fast lane. On his second outing as leader, the bassist/producer has assembled a tight group, with the intent of performing his compositions in a progressive jazz format. Co-producer L. Raúl Romero lays down impressive guitar work throughout, his chord structures and lead runs blending with Valentín's crisp bass lines for a contemporary fusion sound.
"Santurce Triste"aptly named for a section of San Juan, Puerto Ricois a display of Valentín's arranging skills. Tenor saxophonist Norberto Ortiz and trumpeter Julito Alvarado deliver commendable performances, fusing with guitar and bass as they each shoot out short solos to present an aural cityscape ending with the sound of tropical rain.
With all the musicians hail from Puerto Rico, it is only fitting to present a Latin jazz-flavored number to balance out the record. Recruiting premier percussionist Paoli Mejias
on "Cacique Rebelde," the group showcases its innate grasp and mastery of complicated tempo changes with ease.
This type of multifaceted music can only be performed and recorded after much rehearsal and meticulous attention to detail. The two remaining songs"Amistad," and "Saga"could be a study in composition, arranging, and solo dexterity, all combined with the excellent timekeeping of drummer Raúl Maldonado, and making for fascinating listening, with a tendency to hang onto every note.
With Ficciones, Valentinalready an acknowledged and respected bassistcan now also be recognized as producer, composer and leader, helping to shape the sound of modern jazz.
Track Listing: Ficciones; Santurce Triste; Cacique Rebelde; Amistad; Saga.
Personnel: Aldemar Valentín: electric bass; Norberto Ortiz: tenor saxophone; Julito
Alvarado: trumpet; Raúl Maldonado: drums; L.Raúl Romero: electric
guitar; Miguel Zenón: alto saxophone (3); Paoli Mejías: percussion (3).