Elio Villafranca Quartet: The Source In Between (2008)
Ordinarily a CD with only original compositions can be problematic because there is no base from which to interpret, but Villafranca is an accomplished pianist who displays an ability to combine the emotional values of conventional Latin pianism with some of the cerebral ones of bop, post-bop and free jazz, finding a new territory in which to inhabit. The album's title is his name for locale and the title track is a straight-ahead bebop melody with a Latin percussive figure excitingly defined by Prieto; the tune also appears as the last track in a "Latin re-mix" featuring fine work by Stable on tumbadores. Alexander hands in memorable moments with a blistering solo as well as on the haunting ballad "The Lonely One." But it is the ways he and Villafranca develop ideas in interplay as well as separately that make this CD stand out. Prieto and Carney provide support all the way through and exhibit solid performances, especially on "Oddua Suite," a theme that sounds as if it was drawn from Cuban folk music.
It is evident from this most enjoyable album that Villafranca will have much more to say musically in the future as he continues to explore The Source In Between.
Track Listing: The Source In Between; The Lonely One; Oddua Suite; Three Plus One; In The Dark; Faces, Not Evil; Resurrection Of The Incapacitated; Don't Ever Say Never; Luna; The Source In Between (Latin Re-Mix).
Personnel: Elio Villafranca: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Dafnis Prieto: drums; Jeff Carney: acoustc bass; Yosvanny Terry: alto and soprano saxophone (8, 9); Arturo Stable: hand percussion and tumbadores (9, 10); Ferenc Nemeth: drums (5).
Record Label: Ceiba Tree Music