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Rodrigo Almonte: Distancia

Rodrigo Almonte: Distancia
"Every piece of music on Distancia is an honest representation of a pilgrimage of different distances that I had to walk, musically and geographically speaking, in order to find inspiration and to create a representation of myself as a musical nomad," explains guitarist Rodrigo Almonte, who was born and raised in Peru, completed Bachelor of Arts studies in Ireland and Brazil, and his Masters studies in New York and The Netherlands.

As a result, Distancia presents a unique travelogue based on Almonte's Dublin home as its epicenter, and every song title includes a measure of meters walked away from that homebase. It centers around Almonte's guitar and its shimmering sonic similarities to the music of guitarists such as Pat Metheny and Terje Rypdal, sometimes even Tal Farlow. But the Metheny comparison seems most accurate not only for the sound of Almonte's guitar but for the way they, as leaders, so deeply embed their own guitar sound in arrangements designed to complement the sounds from other musicians playing in their groups.

When coupled with the sound of saxophonists Daniel Juarez (tenor) or Michael Moore (alto), or pianist Lorenzo Vitolo, Almonte's guitar sound truly flourishes. A beautiful, almost otherworldly lushness permeates the Andean lament "Toribio." Bassist Rafael Abdalla lays down the opening pulse but then drifts away, leaving Almonte's guitar to direct the meandering melody into quicker jazz time, then pick up and double Vitolo's long melodic lines in a guitar voice so close to the piano that they're impossible to hear separately.

Saxophonist Moore sharply navigates the open framework of "Shorter Steps," from singing the opening melody all the way through to feathered, fluttering notes that drift into silence for its ending. Each note of Almonte's guitar sound, a poignant mix of sorrow and joy, lingers and then dissolves into the air like blue smoke, while drummer Roberto Pistolesi keeps the underlying rhythm both supportive and elastic. "Nothing has resonated with me as much as the music of Wayne Shorter," explains Almonte. "This ballad is my interpretation of what his music evokes in me."

"The Journey Of The Lonely Cloud" is a perfect description of this title's movement and sound: The full band sound pulls back into a spotlight for bassist Abdalla, whose vibrant yet temperate colors provide shade and cover for the piano solo that follows. Yet another luscious guitar solo somehow sounds both accessible yet abstract, difficult to figure but easy to hear; in their solos and accompaniment, drummer Pistolesi and pianist Vitolo stretch out the tune's time and pace, which gives Almonte's lead guitar even more space to burn and glow.

Track Listing

Toribio; OCD; Crown Heights; Shorter Steps; Noggin; Utjawi; The Journey Of The Lonely Cloud; In The Depth Of Winter.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Distancia | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Odradek Records


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