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Florencia Gonzalez: Between Loves

Hrayr Attarian By

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On her second album as a leader, the sumptuous and intimate Between Loves, Montevideo born and New York based saxophonist Florencia Gonzalez elegantly merges a refreshingly innovative spontaneity and a mesmerizing Latin romanticism. The result is a thematically cohesive and multi-textured release that crackles with boppish energy as it draws on motifs from her native culture.

For instance "Women Dreaming of Escape" opens as a tense and passionate tango. Gonzalez's thick, organic tenor leads the brass duo in hypnotic, evolving spins. As drummer Franco Pinna drives the dance to its climax with his exacting beats, pianist Luis Perdomo adds a touch of mysticism with his melodic flourishes. Gonzalez's languid, lyrical solo emerges nimbly out of the relative, nocturnesque lull that bisects the tune. Trombonist Shannon Barnett's intricate improvisation, with its relaxed and confident style and superb technical prowess highlights the second part and ushers in the conclusion.

Barnett's fluid agility, with hints of vibrato is the perfect foil for trumpeter Jonathan Powell's clean, acerbic horn that soars over the percolating rhythms on "The One Who Never Was." The jazziest piece of the record is Gonzalez's tribute to saxophone giant John Coltrane although, curiously, she shuns the spotlight on it.

Powell's crystal clear, lilting ad lib phrases sway brightly over the graceful harmonies on the sensual "Weird Pericon." Elsewhere his stimulating duet with Barnett closes the mellifluous "Chacarera for Greg." This delightful tribute to her teacher appeared in its original, orchestral form on Gonzalez's debut Woman Dreaming Of Escape (Self Produced, 2012). Here it is pared down for the smaller ensemble and opens with an ardent haunting dialogue between Gonzalez's broad warm tone and Perdomo's cascading keys. Bassist Fernando Huergo's dark reverberations and Pinna's galloping thrums give the playful melody a deliciously intriguing edge. Gonzalez's evocative yet brief extemporization is quite memorable and moving.

With this engaging disc Gonzalez proves to be a promising and creative original voice both as a composer and a performer. Her deft leadership skills and her command of her instrument are the primary impetus behind this uniformly alluring effort.

Track Listing: Hurry; Woman Dreaming Of Escape; Zamba For Jose Gervasio; Weird Pericon; The One Who Never Was; Chacarera For Greg; Between Loves.

Personnel: Florencia Gonzalez: tenor saxophone; Jonathan Powell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Shannon Barnett: trombone; Luis Perdomo: piano; Fernando Huergo: bass; Franco Pinna: drums.

Title: Between Loves | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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