On her fifth album, Musiquita, Columbian singer/songwriter Marta Gómez again showcases the tender and joyful style for which this gifted young artist has become known. In fourteen original songs, Gómez embarks on a rhythmical tour of the Spanish-speaking world. Some of the rhythms featured on the album include the Bolivian cumbia and aguabejo rhythms, the Peruvian el festejo, Bolivia's carnavalito and the zamba of Argentina.
Her tight core rhythm section of Franco Pinna on drums and Fernando Huergo on bass is complemented by various guest stars including Columbian Diego Obregón on marimba. Gómez's mellifluous and occasionally melancholic voice seems to float effortlessly above it all, at home whatever the style of song, often engaging in stimulating dialogue with Yulia Musayelya's flute. Whether or not Spanish or the rhythms are understood, it's all enjoyable.
As on her previous albums, Gómez reveals her interest in social justice on Musiquita. On the moving "Basilio," Gómez sings about the 14 year-old Bolivian silver mine worker Basilio Vargas, whose story is told in the 2005 documentary The Devil's Miner. Another highlight is "Tu Voz," with Gómez showing her talent for vocalese.
After being spoiled by the audiophile-quality of her two previous records for the Chesky labelCantos de Agua Dulce (2004) and Entre Cada Palabra (2005)both meticulously recorded in a New York City church, Musiquita is a slight acoustical letdown, though the recording quality remains excellent. In addition, compared to those two previous releases, Musiquita sounds a little more like a world/folk album than world/jazz, if such labels mean anything. There's a little less risk in the music, with less improvisation and instrumentation that sounds, at times, a tad "new-agey. On the whole, however, this is a fine release that is a worthy addition to Gómez's consistently strong catalog, though her Chesky releases would be a better entry point for those new to this fine singer's music
[Note: Musiquita is currently only available as a digital download.]
Track Listing: Ritualitos; Almita Mia; Carnavaliando; Manos de Mujeres; Tu voz; Contigo; Basilio; Canción en Sol; El Eco de Mi Canto; Rio; Tierra, Tan Solo; Asi Te Espero Yo; El Niñ de la Miel; Si No Cantara.
Personnel: Marta Gómez: voice, composer; Fernando Huergo: bass; Yulia Musayelyan: flute; Franco Pinna: drums; Mariana Baraj: voice, percussion; José Bevia: piano; Roberto Cachimuel: percussion; Gema Corredera: voice; Juancho Herrera: guitar; Diego Obregón: marimba, percussion; Claudio Ragazzi: guitar; Roland Satterwhite: violin; Emilio Teubal: piano; Sofia Tosello: background voices; Pavel Urquiza: guitar, voice.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.