284

Pete Rodriguez: El Alquimista (The Alchemist)

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Pete Rodriguez: El Alquimista (The Alchemist) "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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Conde Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "All The Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review All The Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "More Figs And Blue Things" CD/LP/Track Review More Figs And Blue Things
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!