103

Hilton Ruiz: Enchantment

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Hilton Ruiz: Enchantment If there's one thing associated with Caribbean music, it's rhythm. After all, the islands (and the continental areas surrounding them) were among the first New World colonies to adopt the styles of Africa. Pianist Hilton Ruiz may have grown up in Manhattan, but the 49-year old keeps a stockpile of island rhythms at his fingertips.

Having a Panamanian percussionist (Renato Thoms) and a Venezuelan drummer (Marlon Simon) on Enchantment certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to keeping time. The title track has a very unusual mix of Brazilian and Cuban styles, for example. Thoms' congas bubble up in all sorts of unexpected ways, blending tastefully with Ruiz's rather percussive playing and the light swaying patter of Simon's kit. Check the cha-cha on "Sweet Cherry Pie" or the boogaloo on "Home Cookin'" for a couple more examples of rich drum texture.

The other aspect of time that marks Ruiz's playing on Enchantment is the way he treats it as an extension of breath. Jazz musicians usually superimpose a certain amount of give and take with the beat, swinging freely or lending over emotion to a bluesy feel. This pianist takes the jam into elastic triplet territory on his composition "I'll Call You Later," one of a couple pieces to feature vibrant tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, and it works quite well.

But on the four solo pieces bracketed in the middle of the record, it becomes clear that a metronomic sense does not belong. "Gemini," which touches on a Tynerish chord density, heads along an undulating flow, alternating the pace of each phrase to yield a feeling not unlike inhalation and exhalation. Similar rise-and-fall dynamics appear in the next tune, as well as down the road in the soulful blues of "My Little Brown Book" and the tender balladic softness of "Silhouette." These four solo pieces take advantage of the freedom allowed Ruiz when the rest of his group sits out.

Ruiz is on or about his 20th record as a leader, and Enchantment is by all means a worthy addition to the oeuvre. The sidemen on the record perform above and beyond the call, but Ruiz himself is the reason to check this record out. He may not insist on dramatic technique or chase after stylistic innovation, but that's not the point here. As far as keeping time a very human way, Ruiz is right there at the top.

Visit Arabesque on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Seven Steps to Heaven (2:11); 2. Enchantment (7:12); 3. I'll Call You Later (4:29); 4. Sweet Cherry Pie (6:46); 5. Gemini (4:56); 6. Black Narcissus (6:08); 7. Shades of Thelonius (4:08); 8. My Little Brown Book (3:39); 9. Silhouette (5:04); 10. Goodbye (3:14); 11. Home Cookin' (3:29); 12. The Business Ain't Nothing But the Blues (4:43)

Personnel: Hilton Ruiz: piano; Lisle Atkinson: bass; Renato Thoms: percussion, conga; Marlon Simon: drums. Special guest: Chico Freeman: tenor saxophone.

| Record Label: Arabesque Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

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 Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "The Long Slog" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Slog
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by John Sharpe
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Live at the JazzRoom" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the JazzRoom
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 17, 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!