A strident piano chord progression introduces the moderately-paced majestic opener "New Day" with a lithely executed melody from the guitar of Luis Merino, leader of a quartet hailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Proceedings hot-up with the brisk toe-tapper "El Estandar" clearly demonstrating that the guitarist is no slouch when it come to playing or writing good tunes. The more sedate "Returning" has Jose Alberto Medina on melodica-like keyboard tone lending a romantic air to this emotionally-charged ballad.
Things start to move apace again on " Sr. Castaño" with Medina's deft piano propelling the number along. "Changes" and the fast moving and memorable "Landing" subtly showcase the talented Xerach Peñate's drum technique. She most obviously possesses the ability to employ both power and sensitivity and with bassist Tana Santana, they jointly provide an essential backbone to the group.
Lustrous piano introduces the languid "The First One," essentially a duet with dulcet toned guitar picking a delicate melody in tandem with the keyboard. By contrast, the final, title track, and the longest at nearly ten minutes, begins in a jazz rock style but swiftly moves into a more laid-back section, highlighting Merino's fluid playing, before picking up the tempo once again, led by Chick Corea-esque keyboards and resolving in a quiet fade-out.
But how to describe Merino's warm-toned guitar style? It's decidedly at the Kenny Burrell/Pat Metheny end of the spectrum which results in a listening experience which will equally engage guitarists and non-guitarists, jazz and non-jazz fans alike. The result? An unequivocally good debut album.
New Day; El Estandar; Returning; Sr. Castaño; Changes; Landing; The First One; Blacky
Luis Merino: guitar; Jose Alberto Medina: keyboards; Tana Santana: bass;
Xerach Peñate: drums.
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