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Calima conveys the idea of observing a breathtaking peninsula. Its impressions of expanse, tranquility and scenery are musically presented by Diego Barber, a gifted classically trained jazz guitarist who draws inspiration from both Bach and Miles Davis, but whose music contains visions that are uniquely his own.
Barber's exquisite playing has the refinement of the classical master John Williams as well as hints of jazz icons Pat Metheny and Al Di Meola. Born on the Canary Islands, Barber's extensive training and travels (Spain, Greece, Austria ) are intrinsic to the recording's personality. This auspicious debut is realized by a quartet that includes the superb rhythm section of bassist FLY and drummer Jeff Ballard with tenor saxophonist Mark Turner.
"Piru" begins the journey with the sounds of lithesome acoustic strings, delicate cymbals and deep bass notes. About half way through the composition, the saxophone's lyricism further enhances the mid-tempo procession. "190 East" provides a more progressive stance with traces of infectious flamenco, whereas "Desierto" is a simply gorgeous ballad; the separation, texture, and movement of each instrument converging in complete harmony.
Upbeat numbers are also crystallized; the telling new-grass fingering on "Catalpa," a funky folksy cooker, and the take no prisoners attitude of "Virgianna," where Barber and Turner ignite with free voices. A consistent ambiance circulates within every performance, from the military cadence in the inventive drum/guitar duo of "Richi" to the captivating finale, "Air." Its twenty minutes of isolated beauty and ingenuity are a testament to the young guitarist/composer, whose travels and experiences are wonderfully articulated in this memorable release.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.