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!

16

Gustavo Cortinas Snapshot: Esse

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Gustavo Cortinas' Esse is a place where two passions meet and merge. The drummer's fascination with philosophy served as grist for the compositional mill, inspiring and guiding his hands and mind to create this deep-thinking treatise. It's a fascinating musical realization, exploration, and distillation of the works of Hegel, Aristotle, Descartes, Plato, and other brilliant minds.

Cortinas' quest for self-realization and self-actualization leads him down a variety of paths paved by various human dilemmas and universal truths. In following these different avenues and navigating the bends in the road, he winds up creating statements that are both studious and thought-provoking in nature. It's a project that's certainly high-minded on the surface, but you don't need a Ph.D. in Ancient Philosophy in order to take in what this album has to say. Music, not theoretical discourse, shepherds the ears on this journey, so you can take or leave the surveying of connections between concept and composition.

With a lengthy album opener dubbed "Dialectics Of Freedom," one might expect a taste of outsider art or an avant-garde melee. That's not what Cortinas delivers. Instead he sets up a long form journey in five, set in motion by dovetailing cross rhythms. There's ample blowing space, grooves shifts to reflect dimensional and textural changes, and vamps arrive and/or evolve at just the right moments to help provide signposts in the music. It's Cortinas' reflections on Hegel's concept of freedom. "Filosofia" follows, opening as an amorphous swirl with Kitt Lyles' arco bass, Justin Copeland's muted trumpet, and Roy McGrath's matte-finished tenor saxophone in the center of the sound. Then a shape emerges, as slow progress is drafted atop a bass line in fifteen. It's a somber set-up that fixes the mood of this ballad for the entire piece.

Myriad forms of music follow, giving Cortinas and company a chance to express and investigate age old questions. "The Allegory Of The Cave" touches on Plato's beliefs and observations on theoretical and empirical realities, manifesting as a sunny waltz; "Arete," introduced by Copeland's trumpet and eyeing Mexican realms in sound, looks to Aristotle's thoughts on morality and virtue; "Cogito Ergo Sum" is a serious reflection on Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" realization; "Global Skepticism" opens as kaleidoscopic lopsided funk, eventually entering a weightless realm and building into a skirmish that serves as a perfect representation of doubt and insecurity; and "On Certainty" tackles Wittgenstein's solidity of thought and action, opening on long tones, shifting to a fixed section in eleven, and invoking the powers of swing and variation against steadiness. All of those tracks provide a two-pronged education, detailing the beliefs of various deep thinkers while demonstrating how their principles can feed into music.

The album then sees its end with two drastically different works—the driven "Ubermensch," exploring Nietzsche's niche in the philosopher's realm, and a wistful tale dubbed "The Man Of Flesh And Bones," born of Miguel de Unamuno's message(s). The striking differences between these two performances, and the factors that separate each track on the album, speak to a wide gap in understanding and viewpoints between those who postulate on life and existence. Perhaps they all have it right in a way, and maybe each individual simply has to take the pieces that fit. Or it's conceivable that nobody's come close to hitting the mark when it comes to life's questions and answers. There's certainly a lot to think about after hearing this one, but one thing is for sure: Gustavo Cortinas has worked everything out in his musical neck of the woods.

Track Listing: Dialectics of Freedom #1; Filosofia #2; The Allegory of the Cave #3; Intro to Arête #4: Arête #5: Cogito Ergo Sum #6; Global Skepticism #7; On Certainty #8; Ubermensch #9; Intro to the Man of Flesh and Bone #10; The Man of Flesh and Bone #11

Personnel: Justin Copeland - trumpet Roy McGrath - tenor sax (1,3,4,5,8) Artie Black - tenor sax (2,6,7,9,10) Adam Thornburg - trombone Hans Luchs - guitar Joaqu'n Garc'a - piano Kitt Lyles - bass Gustavo Cortiñas - drums & cymbals

Title: ESSE | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: OA2 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Lessons And Fairytales" CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 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!

Please support out sponsor