Tony Malaby: Apparitions (2003)
Although song titles allude to Malaby's exploration of his Mexican-American heritage, it's an emotional rather than literal influence. Malaby's writing sets the parameters for the music, blurring the line between composition and improvisation. The disc starts with "The Mestizo Suite," a three-part tome with a driving rhythm from Gress that the drummers embellish while Malaby floats over it. A drum conversation employing careful dynamics segues the more atmospheric "Humo." The third part, "Mambo Chueco," has a quick tempo that propels Malaby into a fierce solo, alternating between extended notes and lines that mirror the polyrhythmic drummers. The end of the tune is an excellent example of the musicians' careful listening, as Rainey lays out and then plays fills against or off of the groove established by Sarin and Gress, while Malaby wails over top.
"Talpa" has a mournful tenor melody and unhurried bass line, the drummers using mallets to change the texture. Malaby wields a soprano saxophone for "Voladores," a duet with Gress, and for "Jersey Merge," another rollicking rhythmic exercise. The title tune has Malaby's horn sounding flute-like, and it oscillates between tight ensemble playing and freer, spacious sections - a microcosm of the recording as a whole.
The sinuous rhythms and fiery saxophone on Apparitions establishes Malaby as someone to watch and begs the question: what's in store for 2004?
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. Picacho (Malaby) - 6:51 2. Humo (Malaby) - 5:23 3. Mambo Chueco (Malaby) - 8:52 4. Talpa (Malaby) - 5:47 5. Voladores (Malaby) - 2:56 6. Fast Tip (Malaby) - 3:23 7. Apparitions (Malaby) - 9:57 8. Dos Caminos (Malaby) - 5:49 9. Jersey Merge (Malaby) - 3:38 10. Tula (Malaby) - 4:08
Personnel: Drew Gress - bass; Tom Rainey - drums; Michael Sarin - percussion, drums; Tony Malaby - soprano sax, tenor sax.
Record Label: Songlines Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz