"We have grown up indoctrinated with models that ideologically do not represent us, so when it comes to define myself as a creator, I have had problems with the adjectives that qualify me," writes Venezuelan-born guitarist Aquiles Baez on the liner notes of La Patilla. "For jazz fans, I have been too folkloric; for the folk music fans, I can be too academic, while for the academics I might be too popular."
With these thoughts in mind, Baez set out to make a record that would reflect his influences, which range from the free-form musicality of Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal to Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. The opening track, "A san Benito," has a clear AfroCuban vibe, beginning with percussion that then gives way to Anat Cohen's clarinet, which dominates most of the track. "Bajo tu techo de estrellas" has a softer vibe closer to bossa nova and "Choro" is Baez' tribute to a genre that has been around for over a century but that only recently was discovered by international audiences thanks to the efforts of musicians like the aforementioned Cohen. The tune itself is played in an almost devotional manner, the clarinet taking center stage as the guitar, bass and percussion provide a suitable background. Also noteworthy is "Goajira," a classic Cuban tune made popular by Carlos Santana; here it is given a more organic, acoustic treatment in which the guitarist showcases amazing facility on his instrument.
Though essentially Latin-based, Negroni's Trio, a family affair with the elder Jose on piano and his son Nomar on drums, tends to go in a more straightforward jazz direction, demonstrating a variety of influences. "De un pajaro las dos alas" features fine work by Quique Domenech on the Puerto Rican quatro (a native string instrument) in a call-and-response melody against the piano; Alex Acuna's cajon (Peruvian crate drum) is also essential to the tune. On "Cajon y tecla" Acuna expectedly shines, as does Jose with a twisting solo and masterful accompaniment for Acuna's lead. Pay careful attention to the uncommon rendition of the classic Consuelo Velasquez composition "Besame Mucho," given a shifting tempo instead of its usual bolero setting.
It is important to mention that these releases, on the Venezuela-based Cacao Musica, both include excellent liner notes found in English and Spanish, containing important information on the musicians, including individual bios, interviews and photos, handy for both experienced and new listeners.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: A son Benito; Bajo Tu Techo de estrellas; Buscando caimon en boca e caeo: La Patilla; Choro; Como la guayabera; For Colin; Done el cielo se encuentra; Goajira; El trompo enrollao; O algo asi.
Personnel: Aquiles Baez: guitar; Anat Cohen: clarinet; Pablo Gil: soprano sax; Roberto Koch: bass; Alexander Livinalli: percussion; Adolfo Herrera: drums; Huascar Barradas: flute; Wilmer Montilla: maracas; Diego Alvarez: cajon; Gerardo Rosales: congas and percussion.
Father & Son
Tracks: Teatro; De un pajaro las dos alas; 50 years; Father & Son; En silencio; Your Melody; Cajon Y tecla: Raices: Besame Mucho: Cielo azul.
Personnel: Jose Negroni: piano; Nomar Negroni: drums; Marco Panascia: bass; Alex Acuna: cajon; Maria Nahima: vocals; Quique Domenech: Puerto Rican quatro.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.