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Alfredo Triff: 21 Broken Melodies At Once

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As the title and daring cover artwork suggest, "21 Broken Melodies At Once" is different. This is not a collection of songs with melodies and improvised solos, but rather a sort of "symphony" or better, a collage, of ideas, sounds and assorted noises. A short orchestral violin solo gives way to radio sounds, distorted electric violins, a conga/violin duet and on "Sitera" a simply lovely Spanish song sung wonderfully by Xiomara Lougart. "Ambiente pa ti" introduces a more traditional clave sound, with an apparently ad-libbed rap by Miss Lougart. The entire piece is based on one vamp, it’s a little repetitive, a little boring and isn’t particularly focused music making. The next track, "1:48" is one minute and fifty eight seconds of solo drums. I’m not sure why it wasn’t titled "1:58", and I’m not sure why it’s on this recording. "Stars Over Mariel" is an interesting piece featuring the violin using sound effects, counterpoint, repetition and dynamics. It builds in sound and content, then fades away. "Mindtrances" again features Lougarts voice, and the orchestration behind her is unusual, pizzicato violin, sparse bass and percussion. It’s a testament to her voice that she can make challenging music like this happen. "Bolero para las" represents what this recording is about - taking traditional Latin rhythms and Afro-Cuban song forms and extending them by taking the melodies, chords and solos outside of the usual be-bop based vernacular. As a composer Triff succeeds only partially in that rather grand premise. Regardless of how new or "outside" your ideas are, you simply can’t beat a good melody and good chord changes. This is an uneven, at times unfocused effort, but it does have it’s moments, particularly the warm, husky, sensual voice of Xiomara Lougart.

Title: 21 Broken Melodies At Once | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: American Clavé


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