Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Alex Conde: Origins

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Spanish pianist/composer Alex Conde has roots in flamenco, but his influences range widely through Afro-Cuban and American jazz idioms. He is now based in New York City, a place with a pool of musicians ideally suited to the musical blend he creates. The "origins" of the title refer to all of the pianist's roots, which he freely combines in a true fusion. On his previous album Descarga For Monk (Zoho Music, 2015) he interpreted Thelonious Monk compositions; here he features original compositions, along with a couple of flamenco standards.

The opener, "Bulerijazz," acts as a compact statement of purpose, a combination of bulería (a fast flamenco rhythm in 12) with a three-horn jazz brass section (in the tradition of Art Blakey's The Jazz Messengers), complete with a quote from Duke Ellington's classic fusion composition "Caravan." It also features the first appearance of guest guitarist Andres Abenante, who contributes an energetic, over-driven solo. "Upper West Side" really demonstrates Conde's brilliant pianistic technique, and not for the last time. But there's plenty of space for the other players as well, as trumpeter Brian Lynch turns in a fine solo, also not for the last time.

"Spring Break" includes a tenor saxophone solo from Dayna Stephens, as well as an expansive, rhythmic solo from the leader. "La Leyenda Del Tiempo" (one of the two selections not composed by Conde) is the first vocal feature for Ismael Fernández, accompanied by a strong brass section—who also alternate solos (including a feature for trombonist Conrad Herwig). "Jungle Street" fully embraces salsa, with a composition inspired by legendary pianist/composer Eddie Palmieri.

"The Great Priest" puts the spotlight on bassist Luques Curtis, who plays the lyrical head accompanied only by the rhythm section. "El Emigrante" (the other cover tune) gets two arrangements: the first with vocalist Alejandro Conde Sr. (Alex's father), the second an instrumental version with the piano taking the lead role. "Descarga Por Bulerías" is a jam session on the bulería rhythm, including a trombone solo, an especially strong soprano saxophone solo from Stephens, an Abenante guitar solo, and—last but not least—a splendid unaccompanied showcase for drummer Marcus Gilmore.

Origins is a tremendous calling card for Alex Conde as composer and pianist. But it's also a demonstration of the adaptability of Latin jazz, as the genre readily accepts Conde's flamenco influences. Easily recommended to Latin jazz fans, with the additional spice of a fresh Spanish flavor.

Track Listing: Bulerijazz; Upper West Side; Spring Break; La Leyenda Del Tiempo; Jungle Street; The Great Priest; El Emigrante; Soleà De Ismael; Descarga Por Bulerías; El Emigrante Instrumental.

Personnel: Alex Conde: piano, keyboards; Guillermo Barrón: cajón; Luques Curtis: bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums; Conrad Herwig: trombone; Brian Lynch: trumpet; Dayna Stephens: tenor sax, soprano sax; Andrés Abenante: guitar (1,4,5,9); John Benítez: electric bass (1,2,9); Alejandro Conde Sr.: vocal (7); Ismael Fernández: vocal (4,8); Camilo Molina: timbal (5); Frank Abenante & Isabel Abenante: palmas.

Title: Origins | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Uprising/Ropeadope

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Think of One

Think of One

Alex Conde
Descarga for Monk

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty

Alex Conde
Descarga for Monk

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Origins

Origins

Uprising/Ropeadope
2018

buy
Descarga for Monk

Descarga for Monk

Zoho Music
2015

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019