The Afro-Cuban connection is slightly transformed on nascent pianist David Virelles' inspirational trio set, featuring modern jazz luminaries, bassist Ben Street and drummer Andrew Cyrille. With his second solo outing and first for PI Recordings, the pianist has quickly surged to the forefront since migrating from Cuba to Canada, supporting distinguished saxophonist Jane Bunnett and receiving the first-ever Oscar Peterson Award.
On "The Executioner," Virelles commingles traditional Latin jazz values with futuristic ideologies and benefits from Cuban folklorist, percussionist Roman Diaz's prophetic recitations amid a series of highs, lows, and topsy-turvy passages. Using space as a fourth instrument where the musicians spawn a medium-tempo movement, leading to Cyrille's poetic solo, they subsequently propagate an open-ended musical vista. However, Virelles' supply executed and quietly melodic chord clusters segue to Diaz's forceful spoken word spot towards the finale. The pianist ups the ante with thick block chords and serves as the recipient of Diaz' articulations during a brief, yet conversational opus. The trio generates quite a bit of high heat on other tracks, but Virelles also conveys maturity by working within deftly enacted textural elements, while accenting, shadowing and stirring the plot along the way.
Track Listing: El Brujo and the Pyramid; The Executioner; Spectral; Unseen Mother; Royalty; Our
Birthright; Short Story for Piano; A Celebration, Circa 1836; Threefold; Mañongo Pabio;
Personnel: David Virelles: piano, harmonium, pump organ, Wurlitzer organ; Ben Street: acoustic
bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums and percussion; Roman Diaz: vocals and percussion;
Roman Filiu: alto, tenor saxophones (7); Mark Turner: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
(7); Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet (7).
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.