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A microcosmic view of life in New York City, Audiograph is more than just a clever play on words. This collection of "sound photographs" by drummer Luiz Ebert and pianist Fidel Cuellar audibly envisions some of their experiences and memories in the "City That Never Sleeps." It's a phrase made iconic by singer Liza Minnelli in the 1997 film New York, New York and reinvigorated for a new culture in rapper Jay-Z and singer Alicia Keys' 2009 pop hit "Empire State of Mind." Yet Ebert and Cuellar deliver their own ideas of life in the Big Apple.
With six pieces delivered by a potent quintet that includes Livio Almeida (reeds), Will Caviness (brass), and Ian Stapp (bass), the set contains expressive performances in tunes such as "Waltz for a Ballerina," with its robust horns and rich harmonies, and the hip yet graceful flow of "River," where Ebert and Cuellar introduce a delicate rhythmic cadence before the rising theme. The hectic commute in "I-87 Major Deegan Expressway" is filled with sampled traffic noises and cacophonous instruments, while "Thursday Night (in Harlem)" recalls memories of Latin street music as each piece represents a unique facet of life, people and connectivity.
But music is only part of the equation as the Limited Edition CD includes a beautiful 56-page booklet with artwork contributed by six photographers from around the globe. Their contributions are represented in unique interpretations of what they "saw" when listening to a specific piece, like Berlin photographer Adelaide Ivánova's opaque images of "Linda's Lament." Like any art form, the end result is left to interpretation and that's the openness of Audiograph, as it captures moments in both sight and sound and invites the listener to create new images.
Track Listing: Waltz For A Ballerina; River; I-87 Major Deegan Expressway; Linda's Lament; Thursday Night (in Harlem); Sweet Journey.