Antonio Sanchez' Migration overflows with a bracing jazz music that reinvigorates conventions and renews traditions. It bodes well for this extraordinary drummer's future as a bandleader and composer of note.
The freewheeling imagination with which a track such as "Ballade teems is a direct reflection of Sanchez' own playing style. Yet he never dominates the proceedings merely to assert himself as the leader. Even when he is prominent, as when he so emphatically opens Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge, he does not call attention to himself but, rather, sets the stage for the musicians he's playing with. In so doing, he leads by example in being sensitive to the subtlety of his interaction with his peers and theirs with each other.
As a result the interplay present on "Did You Get It?, where saxophonists David Sanchez and Chris Potter intertwine in steep ascension, is sharp and crisp. Still, the individual musicians make their own articulate statements. Bassist Scott Colley, for example, simultaneously sets and maintains the pace with his elegant yet unobtrusive playing on "Greedy Silence.
The star appearances and contributions of original material on Migration are duly notable, of course, but perhaps no more than work of the core quartet. Chick Corea's "One for Antonio is a rollicking opener where author's piano dominates and thereby sets a generally upbeat tone for the album. The quietude of Pat Metheny's "Arena (Sand) is testament to the guitarist's fundamental empathy as an instrumentalist and a composer: he plays and writes not just for himself, but to suit the personalities of the recipients, contributing to the dynamics of the session.
There's some serious musicianship present on this album in the form of formal arrangements, meticulous production and lively improvisation. Nevertheless, no aspect of Migration detracts from the palpable sense of lighthearted play when the musicians coalesce. The reappearance of Pat Metheny's guitar on the concluding cut, Miles Davis' "Solar, functions as a pithy recap of the virtues present within its sixty-six minutes.
It is a fresh vibrant performance that adds to the legacy of the genre and makes a statement on the part of all the musicians involved, but especially that of Antonio Sanchez.
Track Listing: One for Antonio; Did You Get It?; Arena (Sand); Challenge Within; Ballade; Greedy Silence; Inner Urge; Solar.
Personnel: Antonio Sanchez: drums; Chris Potter: tenor and soprano saxophones; David Sanchez: tenor saxophone; Scott Colley: bass; Pat Metheny: guitar (3, 8); Chick Corea: piano (1).
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