Being a recording artist on the Fresh Sound New Talent label must be daunting given the semantic implications of its name and its track record of solid, varied mainstream jazz releases. But Spanish guitarist Joaqu'in Chacón lives up to all those expectations except one: he is not a new talent. He is, however, a talented, sparsely-documented leader whose new album, Out of This World
, should be the first step in remedying the paucity of records under his own name.
The opening title track sets the pace. Drummer Keith Copland and bassist Sigurd Ulveseth begin the cut with a vamp that involves a bass ostinato. Two bars later, pianist Ben Besiakou doubles the bass with some chords, and subsequently Chacón states the melody. Then an epiphany arrives as the head swerves into a Latin excursionmagic is being made on this Arlen and Mercer standard.
It's in Copland's drums. He drives the vamp with well-placed toms before settling into a gradually unfolding groove with syncopated rimshots. Ulveseth has it too, with a glorious opening ostinato and Latin feel on the bass. And then there are the solos. Chacón conjures Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery in his ethereal and melodic improvisations. Besiakou, by comparison, is earthier, with rhythmically-solid phrasings and an irreverent approach.
Chacón the composer is represented on this album, too. His original ballads "La Dicatadura Encubierta" and "Impressions of Prag" are economical with painstakingly developed motives. The up-tempo Latin tune "En Un Instante" has a strong melody and is a joy to listen to. All of these cuts have inspired solos from Chacón and Besiakou. Ulveseth also delivers one on "La Dicatadura Encubierta."
Great playing, however, fails to save a bizarre rendition of "All the Things You Are." Instead of the elegant Kern and Hammerstein sound, the cut flits between New Orleans funk and double time bop. The abrupt changes are jarring and artificialnot even Chacón's Pat Martino-style guitar lines can redeem the arrangement's willful peculiarity. Eclecticism, however, is well-integrated on the rest of this jazz record. Even a nylon string guitar-wielding Chacón on the bolero "Dos Gardenias" seems natural.
So Out of This World does deliver on its promise of fresh sounds and talent. Now it remains to be seen if that talent will get more chances to put out material under his name.