3

Charles Flores: Impressions Of Graffiti

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Flores: Impressions Of Graffiti No album should ever serve as a debut and a posthumously-released pièce de résistance, but such is the case with bassist Charles Flores' Impressions Of Graffiti. At the age of 40, the Grammy Award-winning bassist, who spent time working with pianist Michel Camilo, trumpeter Brian Lynch, reed master Paquito D'Rivera, drummer Dafnis Prieto, and numerous other Latin jazz notables, finally found time to put himself first, but his time quickly ran out; cancer took his life in August of 2012, but not before he had a chance to make his mark as a leader on record.

Impressions Of Graffiti can be viewed as the culmination of his life's work. It shines a light on his compositional aesthetic and showcases his stellar bass playing, but it doesn't come off like a player-hogging-the-spotlight session. With other heavies on the date like drummer Cliff Almond and pianist Elio Villafranca, Flores didn't have to worry about shouldering the weight of the record with his own two hands.

The music itself is driven with fusion-esque fervor and that particular style of music serves as a common room or lingua franca for all involved here, but it doesn't define the record. Flores blends in allusions to Cuba ("Carlito's Way" and "Persecusion") and Brazil ("Miriam"), and touches on other close fusion relatives, like funk ("Driving Through") and rock ("Street Walk"). He delivers mellower music for the wandering spirit ("Gentle Words"), but prefers to inspire through intensity ("Impressions Of Graffiti"). The majority of his compositions are hard-hitting and memorable, but the occasional almost-forgettable number ("Influence") still manages to make an impact through demonstrative soloing. Flores is nothing short of brilliant when he takes center stage, delivering fast, fluid and fancy finger work with ease.

While the presence of guests like keyboardist Manuel Valera and guitarist Wayne Krantz may pique the interest of jazz fans who are unfamiliar with Flores' work, the core quartet is the real attraction here. Flores and Villafranca are completely in synch at every turn, whether playing off or with one another. Almond, known as the stellar drumming force behind some of Camilo's best work, brings that same sense of passion and drive to this project, and guitarist Richard Padron establishes himself as a force with which to be reckoned.

While it appears that Impressions Of Graffiti will sadly serve as the late Charles Flores' only album, it leaves him with a perfect 1-0 record and an unblemished leader discography; few achieve such success, but nobody would expect less from such a talent.

Track Listing: Impressions Of Graffiti; Gentle Words; Street Walk; Broken Image; Carlito's Way; Driving Through; Miriam; Influence; The Whole Train; Back On The Wall; Persecusion.

Personnel: Charles Flores: bass; Elio Villafranca: piano, keyboards; Richard Padron: guitar; Cliff Almond: drums; Wayne Krantz: guitar (3, 6); Manuel Valera: keyboards (9), percussion programming.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Dafnison Music | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Jim Olin
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Voices in the Void" CD/LP/Track Review Voices in the Void
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Two Steps from the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Two Steps from the Blues
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Mundo" CD/LP/Track Review Mundo
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 30, 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!