388

Francisco Mela: Melao

By

Sign in to view read count
Francisco Mela: Melao
Cuban drummers relocating to the US over the years have made a remarkable contribution to jazz on these shores, and Francisco Mela is the newest talent to add to that list. Melao is a striking tour de force for the young drummer/composer, who transplanted himself from Havana to Boston a decade ago. Mela has wisely surrounded himself with some of Boston's brightest young talents, not to mention a generous and gorgeous cameo by Joe Lovano on several tunes.

The curious listener would be well advised to skip ahead to track five, "Galaxy," perhaps the most daring of the uniformly excellent nine original pieces composed by Mela. A blazing interchange between saxophonists Lovano and George Garzone is the main attraction that brings the composition into cohesion, but repeated listenings reveal just how sophisticated and engaging Mela's rhythmic patterns are as he urgently pushes the horns to stretch to the max. He's an rousingly busy drummer, tracing his style back to Roy Haynes, though I also hear Tony Williams in terms of a airy and deft quickness in responding to the saxophones. It would require only a slight play of imagination to hear this tune as a selection on a "Tribute to Miles" disc, with Garzone lovingly evoking Wayne Shorter, and Mela dancing over every square inch of his drum kit with the teenager's enthusiasm that Williams never seemed to lose with age.

The rest of the album? A fascinating mix of colors pop up. A few measures of Afro-Cuban chanting, some darkly atmospheric electronic storms contributed by the very edgy and versatile electric guitarist Nir Felder. A cover of Ornette Coleman's "Law Years" does justice to Ornette's endearing agitations.

In some ways, to create a just comparison, I think Mela is just as striking a new talent as drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto, and both artists successfully pursue a freedom to weave their Cuban musical backgrounds into global tapestries that can be called "free Latin music." And in Mela's case, accent the word "free." "Free" in the context of this passionately realized project means "disciplined imagination."

Track Listing

John Ramsey; Sopresa; Arere; Parasuayo; Galaxy; Chela; Obayoko (Intro); Obayoko; Law Years; Parallel Worlds.

Personnel

Francisco Mela: drums, vocals, percussion; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Anat Cohen: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Lionel Loueke: guiktar; Nir Felder: electric guitar & effects; Leo Genovese: piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboard; Peter Slavov: bass.

Album information

Title: Melao | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Ayva Musica

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Jesup Wagon
James Brandon Lewis
Songs For Tracy
Frank Macchia
RXB3
Richard X Bennett
All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren
John Daversa Jazz Orchestra Featuring Justin...
Global Entry
Gabriel Evan Orchestra
Live At The Club Polnischer Versager
Casserley / Illvibe / Morgan / Sjostrom

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.