When drummer Harvey Sorgen met saxophonist Remi Álvarez at the International Musicians Meeting in Monterey, Mexico, he was "taken by his sound, feel and humanity." This is not surprising. Álvarez has cut a wide swath both on record and in live performances as an adventurer who is not afraid to take risks without losing focus. Sorgen, who has blazed his own trail adding to the dynamics with his sense of rhythm and pulse and abetting the music of vibraphonist/pianist Karl Berger, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and trumpeter Herb Robertson among others, recognized a kindred soul. As for Joe Fonda, the bass virtuoso has the stylistic flexibility to build robust lines or fragment them and skitter around and into the path of the soloist to elevate a composition.
Álvarez is the centrifugal force, bringing crisp intensity and sweetness in equal measure. He is trenchant, cutting deep into "Dancing With the Forest" with phrases that jump and curl seeking a groove and then dispensing with it to create an array of effects. Sorgen steps up to the complexity with a broad spectrum of color that melds into the saxophone while Fonda infuses rumbling lines to give the triangle congruent shape.
The pastoral "Talachas" offers contrast with its lyrical air. Álvarez leans into the melody, his flute dipping into the nuances to flesh the body. His arcs and swoops impact, and when his trajectory gets more pronounced on the swell of improvisation the effect is dynamic.
"Falling Up The Stairs" opens as a warm coaxing ballad on the tenor saxophone, with Fonda's bass cleaving to the melodic line as Álvarez continues his forlorn cry. The understatement works, particularly with the rhythm section keeping the bottom ticking right through the churning angularity that Álvarez brings in to complete his journey.
Each member of the trio is integral to the whole as concept becomes reality and the search for the unusual is met with expectancy and fulfillment.
Track Listing: Dancing With the Forest; Falling up the Stairs; Ofrenda; Arriving at Cariddi; Verge; Talachas; Entropy; Tower; Responsibility of Desire; Our Friend Kevin; In the Shadows; Tepache.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.