542

Angelica Sanchez: Life Between

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Angelica Sanchez: Life Between Since their relocation from Arizona in 1995, pianist Angelica Sanchez and her husband, saxophonist Tony Malaby, have made their mark on the fertile New York scene. Malaby has become omnipresent, appearing on over 50 albums in the last decade, while Sanchez has maintained a lower profile, playing often but recording sporadically, usually in a collective trio with Malaby and drummer Tom Rainey, last documented on Alive in Brooklyn, Vol. 2 (Sarama, 2005).

Life Between features Sanchez leading a stellar electro-acoustic quintet which includes regular collaborators Malaby and Rainey, stalwart bassist Drew Gress and specially invited guest, French guitarist Marc Ducret. This remarkable sophomore effort offers a summary of her impressive growth as a composer since her sublime debut as a leader, Mirror Me (Omnitone, 2001).

Alternating unadorned folksy melodies with elaborate contrapuntal lines, Sanchez's writing modulates between harmonious accessibility and thorny involution as her pieces gracefully shift between open forms and taut written sections. "Black Helicopters" and the title track unfold with brooding atmospheric washes, while "Name Dreamer" and "Blue & Damson" introduce plangent motifs; each piece subtly surges into tumultuous meditations fraught with knotty intervallic themes, fractured rhythms and tonal extremes.

A singular stylist with a harmonically unfettered melodic sensibility, Sanchez's effervescent lyricism takes center stage on the gentle acoustic piano ballad "Federico." The bell-like tones of her electric Wurlitzer provide haunting ambience to the title track, colorfully penetrating linear variations on "Blue & Damson," and a flurry of gnarled notes on the vigorous "SF 4."

Sanchez's incisive excursions are often the inverse of her husband's, yet their dynamic rapport is mutually beneficial; Sanchez coaxes tenderness from Malaby, while he inspires her more aggressive inclinations. A congenial interpreter and stellar technician, Malaby's contributions to Sanchez's work are unswerving and emotionally compelling. His insectoid trills on "Black Helicopters" escalate with climactic urgency, while his pneumatic runs on the title track are muscular and heartfelt. He plies soulful glisses on "Federico" and spews quicksilver circuitous refrains on "514" and "Blue & Damson," the later culminating in a miasma of fervent low tones and volcanic multiphonics.

Ducret's dynamic versatility is legendary; combining Hendrixian electronic maelstroms with the virtuosity of Mahavishnu-era John McLaughlin, he unleashes salvos of spiky fragments on "Blue & Damson," distorted shards and searing legato phrases on the jaunty "514," and silky filigrees on "Federico." His rapport with the veteran group is exemplary, sounding more like a longstanding member rather than an invited guest.

Gress and Rainey provide magnanimous support with a fluid undercurrent of rhythmic invention that negotiates sharp angles, stop-start rhythms and unconventional meters. They offer a stimulating bed of interactivity that facilitates a wide range of expression, from dulcet introspection to volatile agitation.

With inspired readings delivered by an empathetic line-up, Sanchez's opulent compositions unveil breathtaking kaleidoscopic vistas, making Life Between one of the year's most striking records.


Track Listing: 514; Federico; Name Dreamer; Black Helicopters; SF 4; Blue & Damson; Life Between; Corner Eye.

Personnel: Angelica Sanchez: piano, Wurlitzer electric piano; Marc Ducret: electric guitar; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Drew Gress: double bass; Tom Rainey: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Les Rhincéros III" CD/LP/Track Review Les Rhincéros III
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Prog Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Prog Noir
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Tropical Infinito" CD/LP/Track Review Tropical Infinito
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "We Drift Meridian" CD/LP/Track Review We Drift Meridian
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017

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!

Buy it!