6

Juan Pablo Carletti / Tony Malaby / Christopher Hoffman: Niño/Brujo

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
For his debut album, NYC-based Argentinian drummer Juan Pablo Carletti has made some wise choices, even before one considers the music. Foremost among those is the selection of saxophonist Tony Malaby to front his trio. Malaby has a compelling track record of energising such threesomes, as evidenced by his 14 year tenure in bassist Mark Helias' Open Loose unit, as well as the reedman's own Tamarindo outfit. He has more than enough talent to carry a small combo as the only front line instrument. However that's not quite what's needed on Niño/Brujo as Carletti's other go to guy is top drawer cellist Christopher Hoffman, who numbers Henry Threadgill among his significant employers.

For a drummer helmed leadership date, Carletti keeps a remarkably low profile. That's compounded by a cool school vibe to some of the tracks such as "Miranda" and "Ballerina," where even Malaby's overblown distortions sound restrained. Although the themes are not overly memorable, they serve well their prime purpose to launch the three musicians into the improvisational space. Attention to detail is evident in how often the theme restatements at the end of a piece are subtly different from how they started off. Carletti has taken a variety of approaches across the seven cuts, but all are distinguished by the close knit interplay. That's most obvious on the involved "Lateral Thinking" the longest selection which links a series of discrete episodes.

As ever Malaby makes full use of tonal ambiguity, vocalized effects and split tones to extend his emotional impact. Hoffman proves adept with the bow, when his poised arco provides acerbic counterpoint to the saxophonist's ruminations, while his pizzicato is both nimble and melodic. Carletti shows himself to be a tuneful drummer, in the lineage of Ed Blackwell and Max Roach, although eschewing that pair's polyrhythmic drive.

Highlights include "Orange" which after a solo cello introduction builds, via a spacey interlude of breaths, sudden string flurries and cymbal splashes and sustained notes, into a passage of rough sawing vying with tenor skronk over roiling drums. It doesn't end there, as Carletti reiterates the tune via Malaby's perky tenor with a countermelody from Hoffman's bowed cello. As a change of pace, the succeeding "José" acts as a cooling balm, as mournful saxophone and cello intermingle in slow motion atmospherics. The concluding section of "Lateral Thinking" constitutes another peak with spirited tenor grit rubbing up against cello abrasions over an abstracted funk beat from the leader. Carletti has created a strong platform and the next entry in his discography should be eagerly awaited.

Track Listing: Miranda; Ballerina; Orange; José; Folkus; Lateral Thinking (for Edward DeBono); El Brujo.

Personnel: Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Christopher Hoffman: cello; Juan Pablo Carletti: drums, glockenspiel, melodica, compositions.

Title: Niño/Brujo | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Threes" CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Duende Libre" CD/LP/Track Review Duende Libre
by James Nadal
Published: May 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.