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Beekman: Beekman Vol. 02

Budd Kopman By

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Beekman: Beekman Vol. 02 Beekman is a collective quartet with members from all over the world: pianist Yago Vazquez from Spain, saxophonist Kyle Nasser from the U.S., bassist Pablo Menares from Chile and drummer Rodrigo Recabarren also from Chile. Nasser's work was heard on the intriguing Restive Soul, while Vazquez made a very strong contribution on Stream with veterans Scott Lee and Jeff Hirshfield.

The group has a sound that fuses not only the musical aesthetics of different continents (without becoming "World Music"), but also various musical styles ranging from jazz itself in its free flowing improvisations, to the sheer power of rock and a bit of the headiness of Classical. Each player is a chameleon in his own right, but the group, far from ending up with a sound that is everything, but nothing in particular, has created instead a dynamic musical organism of many colors, moods and attitudes.

Thus, the nine tracks on Beekman Vol. 02 share a cohesive group sound with each being different in the details. This is very high quality modern jazz polished to a high sheen, with arrangements have that feel of effortlessness that can come only with familiarity. Drama is the band's strong suit, and each track has a definite architecture which carries the listener along.

Three of the tunes ("Moved By Clouds," "Something Unsettled," "Verdict's Out") are by Nasser (actually four tracks —"Verdict's Out" has a one-and-a-half minute intro track), with two by Menares ("En Otro Lugar" and "Perdón"), two by Vazquez ("Recovered" and "Farewell") and one by Recabarren ("Canción Al Licor De Ave"). The album feels like a set, with nice pacing and arc.

"Canción Al Licor De Ave" begins the set, with a bit of a mysterious piano intro which leads to a languid sax declamation, with no real hint of where this is going, only to drop into a kind of broken swing which keeps building in intensity as the track progresses. A beautiful, soft, piano solo opens "En Otro Lugar," after which Nasser plays the ballad theme for all its worth using his very slow vibrato to great affect, followed by an exquisite bass solo accompanied by cymbal washes.

The center of the album is arguable the nine minute Nasser tune "Verdict's Out." The intro is played by Nasser alone as a kind of cadenza, right until the end, where the main rhythm is introduced. This emotionally cool track features sparse piano, accompanied by hot, but understated drums and bass which creates a visceral tension that is taken up by Nasser's sinuous long lines. Architectural indeed! "Farewell" is the surprise ending track, as its American folk melody and simple harmonic progressions close things down.

Beekman Vol. 02 is excellent from start to finish, merging the abstract with the emotional in a distinct and engaging manner.

Track Listing: Canción Al Licor De Ave; Moved By Clouds; En Otro Lugar; Something Unsettled; Intro To Verdict's Out; Verdict's Out; Recovered; Perdón; Farewell.

Personnel: Yago Vazquez: piano, Fender Rhodes; Pablo Menares: bass; Rodrigo Recabarren: drums; Kyle Nasser: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Ropeadope


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