Spanish-born jazz accordionist Victor Prieto is the most exciting such player to come on the scene since Eddie Monteiro. Melding Argentine and Brazilian influences with a bop sensibility, Prieto gives the lie to all of the nasty things that have been said over the years about the much-maligned squeezebox.
Backed by Rachel Z drummer Allison Miller and the extraordinarily gifted bassist Carlo DeRosa, Prieto presents a varied and virtuosic set of performances on Persistencia. The variety of tunes is quite amazing and eclectic, ranging from Egberto Gismonti to Astor Piazolla (as one would expect) and John Coltrane (as one would not expect).
I was most impressed, however, by Prieto's original tunes, which account for six of the nine cuts on the album. In particular, "Mundos Celtas" displays much of the rhythmic ingenuity of Hermeto Pascoal (himself no mean accordionist). And one would be hard pressed to find a lovelier and more haunting melody than the one on "Only For You," a tune that is just crying out for a vocal treatment.
Equally impressive is the interplay among the three performers, who sound as though they have been performing together for decades. Although Prieto is the dominant soloist on this album, his colleagues get a number of opportunities to display their immense talents, most notably DeRosa on "26-2" and Miller on the hard-driving "Mugares," the Prieto original which concludes the album.
Persistencia is that rare recording with no weak cuts. It is uncompromising in its musicality and inventiveness, presaging a great future for Victor Prieto as both an instrumentalist and composer.
Personnel: Victor Prieto: accordion; Carlo DeRosa: bass; Allison Miller: drums.