Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

284

Pete Rodriguez: El Alquimista (The Alchemist)

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
"Jive State Suite" sure is an attention getter. The introduction to the first track of Pete Rodriguez's El Alquimista (The Alchemist) makes clear this is an album with a difference.

Rodriguez, a trumpeter, vocalist and composer, has performed with a virtual who's who of Latin music, as well as other styles. Among his many associates are Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and Chico O'Farrill.

"Jive State Suite" is a set of five songs inspired by Rodriguez's dealings with academia. Drummer Henry Cole starts things off with a workout on the toms, followed by a startling piano chord from Luis Perdomo, and Ricardo Rodriguez's bass line. David Sanchez's tenor saxophone starts the dramatic melody, joined by the trumpet. The song shifts gears when Perdomo leads into a straight-ahead jazz approach, then back to the brooding mood set by the intro. What follows is a free-form journey, with trumpet and saxophone engaging in dialogue, often overlapping each other.

The mellow "My Patience" ends the suite with Perdomo making his first appearance on Fender Rhodes. Trumpet and tenor sax share the melody, with Rodriguez exploring the lower range of his instrument during his solo, followed by Sanchez. Perdomo then scores with a sound that brings to mind Tom Schuman or Earth, Wind & Fire's Larry Dunn.

After Roberto Quintero goes solo on the congas with "Por Si las Moscas, Roberto," the full band comes back on "Scorpion," inspired by an actual Texas scorpion attack on Rodriguez. It's a high-energy piece in which the trumpet and tenor playing several rapid-fire riffs. While the congas, bass and drums keep up a high pace in the background, Sanchez slows down the lead during his solo—for a moment. When he accelerates, the piano becomes more active, and the others play with more fervor. Rodriguez follows suit, starting off subtly before jumping into high gear.

The title song begins with Quintero's congas, followed by bass, drums and piano entering to set up another rapid-fire trumpet and tenor duet. The two instruments sound as one, with a blend that occasionally sounds as if a trombone is in the mix. A series of solos by tenor, piano and trumpet follows, ending abruptly with the piano.

By definition, an alchemist is one who practices the ancient art of converting base metals into gold or, symbolically, one who changes a common item into something precious. Rodriguez turns common notes into a special mix of Latin, jazz and even symphonic music.

Track Listing: Jive State Suite: Who Do I Trust, Not Good Enough, Reflection, The Truth Will Always Surface, My Patience; Por Si las Moscas, Roberto; Scorpion; El Indio; Shambala; El Alquimista.

Personnel: Pete Rodriguez: trumpet; David Sanchez: tenor saxophone; Luis Perdomo: piano, Fender Rhodes; Henry Cole: drums; Ricardo Rodriguez: bass; Roberto Quintero: percussion.

Title: El Alquimista (The Alchemist) | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Conde Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "In Praise of Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review In Praise of Shadows
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Friendly Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Friendly Ghosts
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Get 'Em" CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!