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Gabriel Guerrero & Quantum: Equilibrio

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Gabriel Guerrero & Quantum: Equilibrio
Colombian-born, New York City-based pianist/composer Gabriel Guerrero plays and writes quite well, and is effectively supported by an able-bodied trio on Equilibrio—even though drummer Felix Lecaros sometimes overplays his hand.

Guerrero's themes—he wrote every one of the album's eleven numbers—are by and large slow-to medium-tempo pleasant, which suits the ensemble well but runs the risk of trying a listener's patience. The lone variations take place on Track 9, "Permanent Divsersion Part II," with the use of Fung Chern Hwei's overdubbed strings, and Track 10, "Encrucijada," on which Guillermo Barron's almost-muted percussion is added. The session ends with an alternate version of the sunlit "Belong," one of the few numbers with a solid rhythmic pulse.

Mind you, there is nothing distasteful here; as noted, Guerrero is splendid at the keyboard, while Lecaros, bassist Will Slater and tenor saxophonist Seth Trachy add fluency and charm to every number. The downside is, no one is pressed to travel beyond a carefully designed comfort zone, as none of Guerrero's charts demands more than that. Within those parameters, everyone is well-spoken and at ease—but it would have been gratifying to hear them tested more vigorously.

But it is what it is, and Guerrero has chosen a moderate path, starting with the even-tempered "Present Moment" and continuing through nine more of the leader's burnished yet unassuming compositions. One positive is the album's generous seventy-two minute playing time. Another lies in the quartet's unswerving allegiance to Guerrero's vision. While this may not be everyone's cup of tea, Guerrero and his teammates give every number the best they have to offer. It's hard to ask for more than that.

Track Listing

Present Moment; OzPal; Expectation; Permanent Diversion, Pt. I; Nunu (For Nebula); Belong; Retrogression; No Return; Permanent Diversion, Pt. II; Encrucijada; Belong (Alternate Take).

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Fung Chern Hwei: strings; Guillermo Barrón: percussion.

Album information

Title: Equilibrio | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Origin Records


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