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Album Review

Xose Miguelez: Contradictio

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Xose Miguelez: Contradictio
Galician composer and saxophonist Xose Miguelez has established himself as a mainstay of the international jazz scene. His superb second release as leader, Contradictio, showcases his talents to the full. A taut quartet session, it consists of inventive originals and clever arrangements of standards. Well- versed in bop and his own ethnic music, Miguelez excitingly fuses both traditions.

The warm, tense opener "Meniña" starts with bassist Carlos Barretto's dramatic refrains. Once the ensemble launches into the main theme it infuses the dominant folkish motifs with vibrant spontaneity. Miguelez improvises with elegance and passion, blowing fiery lines with gusto. The pianist Jean-Michel Pilc takes center stage with his characteristic virtuosic intensity. Above all, the tight and seamless camaraderie of the group members makes this one of the most poignant and memorable moments on the recording.

In contrast, the mellifluous title track is laid-back and safely rooted in the mainstream. Drummer Marcos Cavaleiro's sashaying and rustling beats drive the intimate performance. Pilc peppers his solo with angular chords. Miguelez' brims with a dynamic Iberian lyricism, which permeates the entire piece.

The standard "You and the Night and the Music '' begins with an effervescent and witty duet between Barretto and Cavaleiro. Its rhythmic hooks immediately captivate, and the intricate interplay enthralls with its eloquence. Miguelez embellishes songwriter Arthur Schwartz's work with modernistic sensibilities, setting the stage for Pilc whose deconstruction of the popular song is stimulating and innovative.

Another highlight on this superlative album is "Someday My Monk Will Come" an intriguing Monkish reworking of composer Frank Churchill's tune. Miguelez and Pilc channel Thelonious Monk's unique style with their own personal touches. The former introduces just the right number of melodic twists while the latter percusses chiming crystalline phrases out of his keys. Barretto and Cavaleiro build an electrifying backdrop for their bandmates with breathtaking alacrity.

Between his debut and Contradictio, Miguelez' sound has further matured, and his artistic approach become even more singular. Having synergistic sidemen certainly is a plus. The restless creative progress, which Miguelez has so far demonstrated, promises a career with a brilliant future.

Track Listing

Meniña; You and the Night and the Music; Ontology; Contradictio; Someday My Monk Will Come; But Not for Me; Soul and Body; Out of Nowhere; Galicia; Ontology (duo).

Personnel

Xose Miguelez: saxophone, tenor; Jean-Michel Pilc: piano; Carlos Barretto: bass; Marcos Cavaleiro: drums.

Album information

Title: Contradictio | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Origin Records

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