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


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Juan Pablo Carletti/Tony Malaby/Christopher Hoffman: Niño/Brujo
A funny thing happened on the way to a free jazz trio session. What's funny is that leader Juan Pablo Carletti brought seven unique compositions for his trio to perform. The Argentinian-born, New York-based drummer recruited tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby and cellist Christopher Hoffman for this recording. An inconspicuous drummer-led session.

Carletti's last decade in New York has found him in ensembles led by Malaby, Rob Brown, Andrew Lamb, and cellist Daniel Levin (with whom he will release a duo recording). His approach is understated and euphonic. Like a great food recipe, his drum kit set up is minimal, keeping his music making to just the essentials. He flavors each piece with piquant gestures and peppers his partners with a sympathetic sound.

The limited edition of 300 LPs (also available as a download) opens with "Miranda," a gentle melody with Malaby's sweet-tempered horn playing over the plucked cello and tick-tick of Carletti's drums. The piece picks up momentum, and, at it's pinnacle, finds over-blown horn and muscular drums that have no desire to disintegrate into the chaos of noise. Perhaps that is why Carletti favors Malaby, who has that organizing genus. One that can be heard in his trio Tamarindo (with William Parker and Nasheet Waits), Paloma Recio, his octet Novela, and TubaCello with Christopher Hoffman. Hoffman can be heard in Henry Threadgill's Zooid.

Carletti's compositions give his partners plenty of space. After Malaby's vocalizing on "Ballerina," Hoffman plucks, then bows a graceful terminus to the piece. Cello and whispered saxophone open "Folkus," an exploratory investigation into a sort of controlled detonation. "Orange," the freest piece here, plays with a constant return to theme even within its outwardness. "Lateral Thinking," the longest composition here at 13-minutes, opens with roiling drums, then fragments written passages that feature Carletti on glockenspiel and melodica (influenced by John Hollenbeck?) and an almost punk-rock ending. A brilliant recording.

Track Listing

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


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

Album information

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

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