Javier Subatin: MountainsBy
The opener, "Mountain #1," seems designed to showcase Subatin's impressive chops: it's a fiercely-grooving track with insatiable energy, propelled by Subatin's meticulous lines and the unwavering support of bassist Demian Cabaud and drummer Pedro Melo Alves, who with Subatin comprise the core trio on all of the album's twelve tracks. It's almost four minutes of top-notch, airtight guitar fusionbut that's just the first cut. The second track is one of several freely-improvised pieces on the record, and it offers a dramatically different window into Subatin's playing, with the emphasis on group interaction over individual feats of musical mettle. Subatin's abstract effects merge nicely with Cabaud's frenetic arco and Melo Alves' esoteric roaming on his kit for the relatively brief interlude, before the trio again settles in on the more directly tuneful "Mountain #5," giving the three musicians an opportunity to delve more fully into the lyrical side of Subatin's muse. And so it goes for the remainder of the record, with longer composed excursions interspersed with shorter, freer explorations.
The addition of other musicians on a number of tracks reveals yet more facets of Subatin's creativity. Pianist Samuel Gapp's speedy flights on prepared piano provide the perfect foil for Subatin on the freely improvised "Birds," but Gapp is also effective on "Mountain #3," where his temperate meanderings transition into steady chordal figures to fuel the track's developing momentum. Cellist Ricardo Jacinto and alto saxophonist João Mortágua display similar range, as Jacinto's fiery intensity energizes the hard-driving "Mountain #2" and Mortágua's understated elegance carries much of the subtle beauty on "Mountain #6."
It's a tribute to Subatin's deferential approach that most of the album simply doesn't feel like a "guitarist's" record. Instead, he identifies the distinctive abilities of his partners and gives them ample opportunities to merge with the trio organically as they appear together in their various configurations. If the plenitude of styles and personnel sometimes renders the album as a whole somewhat less than fully cohesive, it certainly takes nothing away from Subatin's remarkable ambition and his rapidly emerging role in European jazz. This is a musician we should be hearing from a lot in the coming years.
Mountain #1; Rocks; Mountain #5; Birds; Mountain #3; Cave; Mountain #4; Ground; Mountain #2; Mountain #6; Shadows; Solo #5.
Javier Subatin: guitar; Demian Cabaud: bass; Pedro Melo Alves: drums.
João Mortágua: alto sax (10, 11, 12); Ricardo Jacinto: cello (9, 11, 12); Samuel Gapp: piano (4, 5, 11, 12).
Title: Mountains | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Habitable Records
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About Javier Subatin
Instrument: GuitarArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists