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Gorka Benitez: S (2004)

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Gorka Benitez: S How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With warmth and a rich brown tone, Barcelona saxophonist Gorka Benitez plays with empathy and a rustic quality. The veteran musician has been at the core of Spain's jazz scene for over ten years and has seen recent stints with artists such as pianist Emilio Solla y Afines and trumpeter John McNeil. While Benitez has been known to explore the freer jazz boundaries, as on The Free Session, his new double CD recording Sólo la Verdad Es Sexy (Only the Truth Is Sexy) has a more melodic and lighter stance.

This tight-knit quartet session is diffused with a warm glow as Benitez's horn opens with "Behera," the delicate dance between the instruments giving the impression that the musicians are enjoying the moment with uncomplicated yet tight interaction. The four-movement "Sweet Suite" unfolds thoughtfully with smooth solos from Benitez and pianist Albert Bover, as well as effective work by bassist Nick Thys and drummer David Xirgu. Things swing nicely on "La Bossa ó la Vida," featuring some tight playing by the quartet with loose solos and solid bossa syncopation.

The second CD follows the same pattern of mellow music with highlights such as the soulful "Pepi's Dance" and the modernistic "Garum," which shows the depth of the quartet's ability. The vocal version of "Sólo la Verdad Es Sexy" is much more effective than its instrumental counterpart, featuring guest singer Carme Canela and added guitar, alto sax, and flugelhorn solos. The closing "Flor de Viento" showcases a lovely Spanish waltz as Benitez and his quartet close with a memorable and gentle melody that typifies the recording.

Track Listing: CD-1 1. Behera 2. Sweet Suite 1st mov. 3. Sweet Suite 2nd mov. 4. Sweet Suite 3rd mov. 5. S

Personnel: Gorka Ben

Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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