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Album Review

Chris Trinidad: Chris Trinidad's Changing Tides

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Chris Trinidad: Chris Trinidad's Changing Tides
Bassist and composer Chris Trinidad released the quartet album Chris Trinidad's Certain Times (Iridium Records, 2015) five years after relocating from Vancouver to the San Francisco Bay area. The compositions were constructed from an assortment of sketches, built on grooves and simple harmonies to give the soloists freedom. For Chris Trinidad Y Con Todo (Iridium Records, 2019) he commissioned pianist Christian Tumalan of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra to arrange Latin jazz versions of songs from his Common Themes album series. Here he chose several jazz orchestra arrangers to make big band versions of the Certain Times music. Like so many projects released in 2021 it was assembled from parts recorded in different locations (which is not audible in the final result).

The program order directly replicates the original album. While comparing the two is interesting, it should be stated up front that enjoyment of Changing Tides does not require prior exposure to Certain Times (although Trinidad has reissued it for those who missed it the first time). "Inevitable Evolution" is a bright, swinging opener, with the bebop-flavored head given much more weight by the horns, divided into antiphonal sections by arranger Tony Corman. Flautist Evan Francis and saxophonist Reggie Padilla take lyrical solos. The funk feel of "Something New In The Familiar" is augmented with Latin rhythms in Alex Conde's arrangement (he was the pianist on the original quartet date, and is noted for his synthesis of jazz with flamenco and Latin music).

"The Benefit Of Hindsight" has an especially exciting arrangement by Jared Burrows, with features for fleet-fingered guitarist Alex Hand and a lyrical bass solo by the leader. Rich polyphony from the whole band closes out the solos and leads into restatement of the theme. Trombonist Jamie Dubberly states the theme of the ballad "Finding Somewhere Forever" (in place of the original baritone saxophone) in Len Aruliah's arrangement, which is followed by a gently swinging brass jazz waltz, re-imagining and expanding the composition.

Charlie Gurke (the baritone saxophonist in the original quartet) arranged "A Reading In Retrospect" with a nod towards minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley. A baritone saxophone solo gives way to pianist Christian Tumalan, followed by bass, baritone saxophone and piano in what Trinidad describes as a "low end" soli. The closer "Though Certainly Speaking" takes on a Latin tinge in the hands of arranger Ivor Holloway. The 5/4 time signature feels completely natural, with solo space for tenor saxophone, guitar, and drummer David Rokeach under the closing vamp. Easily recommended to Chris Trinidad fans, as well as a great introduction to his winning contemporary jazz.

Track Listing

Inevitable Evolution; Something New In The Familiar; The Benefit of Hindsight; Finding Somewhere Forever; A Reading in Retrospect; Transcending December; Though Certainly Speaking.

Personnel

Chris Trinidad: multi-instrumentalist; Reggie Padilla: saxophone, tenor; Jamie Dubberly: trombone; Miguelito Valdes: trumpet; Evan Francis: flute; Alex Hand: guitar; Christian Tumalan: keyboards; David Rokeach: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Chris Trinidad: bass guitar; Reggie Padilla: saxophones; Jamie Dubberly: trombones; Miguelito Valdes: trumpets, flugelhorns; Evan Francis: flute (1,6,7); Alex Hand: guitars; Christian Tumalan: piano (3-7); David Rokeach: drums; José Sanchez: percussion (2,6,7).

Album information

Title: Chris Trinidad's Changing Tides | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Iridium Records

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