12

Francisco Mela & The Crash Trio: Fe

James Nadal By

Sign in to view read count
Francisco Mela & The Crash Trio: Fe Since departing Cuba to study at Berklee in 2000, drummer Francisco Mela has been on a meteoric trajectory throughout the jazz dominion. In 2005 he joined the Joe Lovano Quartet, and in 2009 the McCoy Tyner Trio, all the while releasing three critically acclaimed albums as leader. Fe is his first venture with The Crash Trio, a dynamic showcase of poly-rhythmic drumming and propulsive modernism.

Fe translates into faith, and this is Mela's homage to his late parents, and a tribute to jazz mentors and influences. Executed with a sizzling sidewinding style, Mela's drumming is expressive and rudimentary perfect, laying down an expansive palette, while not crowding his fellow accompanists. Pianist Leo Genovese displays an intense comping technique on "Ancestors," with shades of abstract player Don Pullen in his fierce attack on the keys. "Alden Dear," is a swinging straight ahead number with clear and bright cymbal work by Mela, playing with a light touch.

There is an obvious nod to McCoy Tyner in "Don McCoy," with Genovese intentionally softening his approach into a more melodic direction, yet soloing with determination. The title track features guitarist John Scofield, who augments the band with his impeccable taste and technique. This song is mostly Scofield stretching out, with some sparse drum accenting by Mela. The romantic ballad "Romeo & Julieta," highlights the bass patterns of Gerald Cannon, who lifts the piano along the pleasant rendezvous.

There is a circular effect evident on "Reflections," as the trio goes into a rotated pattern, while maintaining the forward direction of the arrangement. This abstraction continues with "Curcuros," which leans into the free jazz realm, emphasized by the bowing bass undercurrent. "Lovano's Mood," is of course dedicated to tenor man Joe Lovano, the first major artist who noticed Mela's singular talent. Scofield encores on "Just Now," a hard bop orientation, where he shows why he is one of the best guitarists in jazz. After Scofield defines the groove, Genovese goes into a rapid improvisation, then Cannon brings down the heat with his bass solo, before Scofield wraps it up. Excellent quartet configuration and performance on this tune. The final track, "Open Dance," has a Caribbean inclination, and travels lightly over a calypso cadence spiced with swing, for a breezy presentation.

Many jazz aficionados are under the impression that Cuban drummers are all inherently inclined to play Afro-Cuban or Latin Jazz, as they have certainly established themselves in those genres. But this is not the case, Francisco Mela is a prime example of a native Cuban who has mastered the intricacies of jazz, in its many varieties and models, and feels comfortable in that role. This Crash Trio production pushes contemporary jazz further into the future, and showcases Mela's development and musical growth as an artist, with more, assuredly to follow.

Track Listing: Ancestros; Alden Dear; Don McCoy; Fe; Romeo & Julieta; Reflections; Curcuros; Lovano’s Mood; Just Now; Open Dance.

Personnel: Francisco Mela: drums; Leo Genovese: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; John Scofield: guitar.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "The Magical Forest" CD/LP/Track Review The Magical Forest
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "All Terrain Guitar" CD/LP/Track Review All Terrain Guitar
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Love Wins Again" CD/LP/Track Review Love Wins Again
by James Nadal
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!