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Album Review

Valentín Caamaño: All The Gods

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Valentín Caamaño: All The Gods
All the Gods is the fourth album from Spanish guitarist and composer Valentín Caamaño, a recording which he describes as his most personal to date. On previous albums, Caamano revisited the works of boppers (be-and hard-) such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Grant Green. On All the Gods—accompanied by saxophonist Xose Miguelez, bassist Alfonso Calvo and drummer Miguel Cabana— he updates those influences with a set of mostly original compositions that clearly trace their lineage back to those stars of the 1950s and 1960s, creating an album full of catchy, atmospheric melodies enriched by beautiful playing from every member of the band.

Throughout All the Gods Caamaño and his compatriots display their undoubted talents in a confident but understated fashion. Caamaño, Miguelez and Calvo play with warmth and a richness of tone that's immediately engaging while Cabana switches between sticks and brushes, laying back or driving forward as the mood of each piece requires. Six of the eight tracks are Caamaño's own compositions, Calvo contributes "Ambulare" and the quartet also play "Invitation," by the Oscar-winning Bronislau Kaper.

The album opens with "All the Gods," which features some fine unison playing from guitar and tenor sax. "Struttin' Around" follows, a tune that seems like it stepped out of the soundtrack of a Pink Panther movie: confident, cool and slinky, anchored by Calvo's walking bass line and Cabana's laid-back swing. "You Come Two Beats Late" is a mid-tempo swinger featuring more unison playing by Caamano and Miguelez over bass and drums which are understated and all the more effective for it. "Ambulare," cool and relaxed, and "Invitation," a fast-paced interpretation with a driving and urgent rhythm, are next up, before Caamaño's final two compositions.

"Safest Place" is the album's slowest tune and one of its standout tracks, a dreamy ballad that features a beautifully controlled performance from all four players, displaying a real feel for the ballad form. By contrast, "Let it do the Job" closes the album at a fast pace. It's a fun slice of bop and a joyful way to end this enjoyable collection of guitar-led tunes.

Track Listing

All The Gods; Struttin' Around; You Come Two Beats Late; Ambulare; Invitation; Safest Place; Let It Do The Job

Personnel

Valentín Caamaño: guitar; Xose Miguelez: saxophone, tenor; Alfonso Calvo: bass, acoustic; Miguel Cabana: drums.

Album information

Title: All The Gods | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Tiny Moon Records

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