263

Elio Villafranca: Incantations Encantaciones

Javier AQ Ortiz By

Sign in to view read count
Elio Villafranca: Incantations Encantaciones
Yet another Cuban loss is Philadelphia's gain. Enter Elio Villafranca. Incantations Encantaciones, produced alongside Larry Cramer, is his sortie into winning leadership. Sorting out the pianist's musicality, brute force, effervescence, topicality, virtuostic independence (just pay attention in "You Spoke Too Soon" on this regard), patience, candor, and brazen delicacy is not that difficult. This is one of those records that recommend themselves with scant need for analysis or justification.



First off, the session is greatly enhanced by guitarist Pat Martino on "Assumption," "You Spoke Too Soon" and "El Hombre" ï" a Martino composition that gets Afrocubajazzified with a 6/8 beat. His licks are fun to watch as they are edged on by the freer tightness provided by the support of the nastily thick rhythm section, only to have him punch back strong. Secondly, Jane Bunnett ï" Cuba's Jazz Matron Saintï" just plays the shit out of the session up and down ï" as her iconic braying proves in "Cacique." The sonic personality of the record is akin to hers, featuring flutes, soprano sax with trumpet and flugelhorn in charge of Terell Stafford. On "Assumption" Stafford speaks his mind with impetus and facility, and on "Oguere's Cha" his prelude to Bunnett's fluting is extremely appropriate. He, nonetheless, doesn't get enough space throughout the album as a soloist. Needless, to say, both excel in their ensemble playing ï" which is not limited to the more testicular performances.

Lastly, the woodsy percussive largess of bassist Carlos Henrïquez and the grown-up discipline of trap drummer Dafnis Prieto, paired with Wilson "Chembo" Corniel's youthful afinque on percussion, give Villafranca wide reign to explore, guide and inspire while being utterly challenged. They function and get along well as a unit, as seen in "Negrita Prende la Vela" where Colombian mapalï and Cuban makuta traces rest on jazz and Puerto Rican bomba ï" the latter's omission in the liner notes notwithstanding.



The writing is unsullied and freed from predictability. The performances touch varying moods, from festive to strongly introspective, and elicit satisfying happiness without relying on anything else but a lot of heart and brainpower. This recording is a welcome relief among both jazz and Latin jazz releases and it makes one wonders where Villafranca will go next. Wherever he goes, one must follow.

Track Listing

1. Oguere?s Cha (E. Villafranca) 2. El Hombre (P. Martino) 3. Encantaciones Cubanas (E. Villafranca) 4. Assumption (E. Villafranca) 5. Negrita Prende la Vela (L. Berm?dez) 6. Cacique (E. Villafranca) 7. You Spoke Too Soon (E. Villafranca) 8. Something Nice to Say About You (E. Villafranca) 9. Orishaoko (E. Villafranca) 10. It?s Not That Serious (E. Villafranca)

Personnel

Elio Villafranca. Guitar: Pat Martino. Trumpet & flugelhorn: Terell Stafford. Soprano sax & flutes: Jane Bunnett. Drums: Dafnis Prieto. Acoustic Bass: Carlos Henr?quez. Congas & bat? drums: Wilson Corniel. Vocals & bat? drums: Pedro Mart?nez (1). Vocals: Giovana Guevara (5).

Album information

Title: Incantations Encantaciones | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Pimienta Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Transmigration
Makram Aboul Hosn
Wrongs
Dan Pitt Quintet
Polaris
Greg Skaff
Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light
Wadada Leo Smith / Douglas Ewart / Mike Reed
Northwestern Songs
Arne Torvik
I Am Not A Virus
Jordan VanHemert
Braids
Sam Rivers

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.