Milagro is pianist Alan Pasqua's first date as a leader and a mighty impressive one at that! - Pasqua is an accomplished and much in demand jazz pianist who also shines as a composer on this gem while receiving first-rate support from the all-star rhythm section of bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
Pasqua's "Acoma" commences in the classic piano trio format, as the pianist exhibits his penchant for simply stated melodies along with spurts of ambrosial romanticism augmented by the sympathetic and astute work from Holland and DeJohnette. The much heralded tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker joins in on Pasqua's pastoral yet soulful ballad, "Rio Grande," while the band take a bit of a U-turn on the modern bop-ish "The Law of Diminishing Returns." Here, Pasqua reaps huge dividends from the piercing rhythms and Brecker’s hard-edged and ominous tenor sax performance yet Pasqua's richly melodic lyricism counterbalances the thundering momentum via brisk, colorfully executed lines. The pianist's melodious articulations become even more prominent on his stunningly beautiful composition, &"Twilight," as the guest horn section supply the subtle tonalities via softly flowing charts whereas the somber choruses and sweet-tempered horn arrangements continue on the title track. Once again, the music breathes life as though something grand or luminous was on the horizon. Pasqua's vividly real, "Heartland" suggests open terrain or a yearning to return home as Pasqua and the horn section instill a sense of calm or quietude in conjunction with the pianist's introspective and personalized approach.
On Milagro Alan Pasqua is a painter or sculptor of dreams as his finely etched lines, touching melodies and polished professionalism come to the forefront in magnificent fashion. With his first release for the Postcards label, Pasqua's exquisite performances and picturesque compositions impart a lasting and unforgettable impression.
Personnel: Alan Pasqua: piano; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Dave Holland: bass; Michael Brecker: tenor sax; John Clark: french horn; Willie Olenick: trumpet, flugelhorn; Roger Rosenberg: alto flute; Jack Schatz: trombonem, bass trombone; Dave Tofani: bass clarinet.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.