Time will tell, but this may be one of those debut CDs that people will talk about for decades, one where people ask, "Do you remember when you first heard...? While the opening "Blues Evolution displays enough amazing piano chops to send the most accomplished musicians back to the woodshed, what this recording has is a direct and honest approach to melodic jazz improvisation. That clearly evident aesthetic places it right away on a higher level than 95% of new jazz releases.
Take the performance of Miles Davis' "Solar." It could be argued that this twelve-measure tune is played too often, by everyone who thinks they have to prove they are awesomely creative through technical proficiency. Yet many overplay it, filling every space with notes that lose the simple melodic nature of the original melody. While Bejerano's chops (and those of bassist Edward Perez and drummer Ludwig Alfonso) are amazing, he never loses sight of the melodic direction of his improvisation. "Lover Man," a significant standard, receives an appropriately sensitive but no less amazing treatment. "Monk's Dream is performed here solo, and explores rhythm and harmony through the history of solo piano virtuosity: Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Bud Powell, Phineas Newborn, et al.
Bejerano is also a strong composer. His "Cubano Apprepentido (The Repentant Cuban) opens with a gentle, hymn-like quality and then moves to an almost rock-ish bass riff, which returns in rondo style, developing into an even more complex rhythmic groove. "Truth and Illusions is also rhythmically inventive, disguising itself as a Vince Guaraldi jazz waltz, and features the brush playing of Alfonso, which is as strong as his stick playing. "Blues Revolution closes this highly recommended CD, answering the opening "Blues Evolution just as ferociously, yet ultimately ending on a gentle high register arpeggio, as if posing the musical question: was that a dream? No, this album is as real as it gets.
Blues Evolution; Lover Man; Cubano Arrepentido; You Don
Martin Bejerano: piano; Edward Perez: bass; Ludwig Afonso: drums.
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