183

Diego Urcola Quartet: Appreciation

Charles Walker By

Sign in to view read count
Diego Urcola Quartet: Appreciation
Subtlety seldom brings rewards in the life of a journeyman jazz musician. In a field overcrowded with competent colleagues, plagued by spotty media coverage and half-starved by the problems facing the music industry more generally, a gimmick is often required to garner even scant attention. Argentinian-born, New York-based trumpeter Diego Urcola—a long-time member of Paquito D'Rivera's quintet and a stalwart of the late-night NYC scene—avoids the gimmicks on Appreciation, his fourth outing as a leader. Instead, he pushes his Sisyphean rock of charming compositions, strong solos and Latin-tinged groove up the hill of notoriety. And, though the results may not win him the cover of Time any day soon, he sticks to the basics on a set that impresses without imposing.

The conceit, of course, is that each of the tunes is nominally offered to one (or more) of Urcola's musical heroes. There are a few stylistic hat-tippings throughout: the opening of the Freddie Hubbard-inspired "The Natural" borrows a fanfare from "Red Clay" before launching into a sprightly neo-bop burner, and he navigates a Harmon-muted middle register for the length of the Miles Davis tribute, "Deep." With or without the track titles, one listen to the album is all it takes to understand Urcola's debt to Hubbard or Woody Shaw, or to pick up on pianist Luis Perdomo's amalgam of McCoy Tyner's racing right-hand runs and Horace Silver's chunky left-hand interruptions. The real tribute here is to jazz music itself, in its capacity to absorb a variety of influences and yet produce a quick hour of consistently strong music.

It is a bit difficult to strongly recommend one track over another, as the sheer competence of the group's playing settles them into a sort of complacent middle ground in some stretches. "Super Mario Forever" gets the blood flowing, however, and Urcola's solo is a good example of the strength of his playing, and thus why this album is so pleasing at its best. Even at the track's elevated tempo, his articulation is precise, his melodic ideas are logical and evolve naturally, and he develops a scintillating, two-way conversation with drummer Eric McPherson before the hand-off and subsequent traded bars. The album closer "Camila," nodding obliquely at Coltrane's "Naima," makes a case for his versatility. McPherson's rumbling mallets and bassist Hans Glawischnig's steady, syncopated pulse give Urcola (muted once again) enough room to lyrically caress the melody, developing it into a tense, moody space at which the opening theme barely hints.

Though Urcola has been nominated for three separate Grammys for his work elsewhere, a set of straightforward, well-played tunes is unlikely to attract similar recognition. Hopefully the trumpeter has found a comfortable enough space professionally that he no longer worries about such accolades, so that he will continue to write such attractive compositions, refine his already-impressive playing and gather his talented friends to play them with such élan.

Track Listing

The Natural (to Freddie Hubbard); El Brujo (to Hermeto Pascoal); Milonga para Paquito (to Paquito D'Rivera); Super Mario Forever (to Mario Rivera); Guachos (to Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos); Deep (to Astor Piazzolla & Miles Davis); Senhor Wayne; Woody 'n Diz (to Woody Shaw & Dizzy Gillespie); Camilla (to John Coltrane).

Personnel

Diego Urcola: trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, vocals; Luis Perdomo: piano, Fender Rhodes; Hans Glawischnig: bass; Eric McPherson: drums; Yosvany Terry: chekere (1, 8).

Album information

Title: Appreciation | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: CAM Jazz

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Lost & Found
Lost & Found
Guillermo Bazzola
Read Night Visions
Night Visions
Scott Sawyer
Read The Dancing Devils of Djibouti
The Dancing Devils of Djibouti
The Dancing Devils of Djibouti
Read People Flow
People Flow
Erik Verwey
Read Kites and Strings
Kites and Strings
Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project
Read Borrowed From Children
Borrowed From Children
Paul Flaherty / Mike Roberson / Randall Colbourne / James Chumley Hunt

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.