A rising jazz guitarist who graduated from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico and currently serves as a Professor at Universidad Interamericana in San Juan, Gabriel Vicens's sophomore release Days exuberantly articulates the soundtrack of his life. This follow up to his 2012 self-produced Point in Time shows personal growth and expression with its contagious hooks and spacious compositions brought by a gifted ensemble that includes talented Puerto Rican musicians and notables saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter/co-producer Alex Sipiagin, and Carlos Santana's full time percussionist Paoli Mejias.
Vicens's compositions not only include infectious rhythms but also a modern rock ambiance that courses with positive momentum. From the onset, the fine horn arrangements of Sipiagin's velvet-toned flugelhorn and the fiery saxophones of Sanchez and Jonathan Suazo in "El Teatro" set the tone for the program.
The buoyant comping and swinging style of pianist Bienvenido Dinzey is propelled by drummer Leonardo Osuna and bassist Dan Martinez's solid timing. Vicens gives space to each musician in the stunning ten minute track "Morph" which is threaded with a circuitous melodic hook and extensive solos that are accentuated and stylized. The band's synergy is further shown in the title track which features a seriously swinging groove-pocket painted by Mejias's percussion.
Though Vicens unselfishly shares the spotlight, he also provides his own moments of brilliance heard in mahogany colored chops that range from carefully probed inquisitions to rapid fire salvos of precision and control. His solo performance in "Prelude to Amintiri" is entrancing and segues nicely into a lovely guitar/piano duo. The multi-layered set contains bright moments such as the rock waltz-like theme in "Doing Circles" and the feverish "Breaking Through Shadows" highlighting the perfect blend of melody and rhythmic syncopation.
By the end of the final track "Justice" a blistering piece where everyone plays as if there's no tomorrow, Vicens has provided a splendid recording that conveys a clear representation of his culture and individuality.
El Teatro; Days; Morph; Prelude to Amintiri; Amintiri; Doing Circles; Comprehend; Breaking Through Shadows; Justice.
Gabriel Vicens: guitar; Jonathan Suazo: alto saxophone; David Sanchez: tenor saxophone; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet and flugelhorn; Bienvenido Dinzey: piano; Dan Martinez: bass; Leonardo Osuna: drums; Paoli Mejias: congas and shaker.
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