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Robert Castelli: Party at One World Plaza

Chris M. Slawecki BY

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Robert Castelli: Party at One World Plaza
Third-generation drummer Robert Castelli demonstrates the different aspects of great jazz drumming as he leads his live ensemble through his own compositions in this energetic, bouncy and thoroughly lively Party at One World Plaza.

A New York State native based in Barcelona (after living for several years in Austria), Castelli throws this collective BOOM down with the help of groove mixologists from around the world: Argentinian guitarist Dani Perez, Swiss keyboardist Gilles Estoppey and Spanish bassist Emilio Martin. Castelli has been teaching music since he was 20 and performing since he was 14. "I've been a band leader since 2007 and have toured my BOOM project every year from 2009 to 2019 in Europe," Castelli explains.

The digital Party at One World Plaza download adds seven live tracks to six studio originals, many reprised in heated live workouts. The opening studio track "Vamos" takes just a few moments to open up into a bouncy jazz fusion groove powered by several sharp guitar and drum breaks, and the live version sounds even more raw, energetic and fun.

Castelli and Martin create a sunny, swinging Caribbean feeling for its title track—not reggae's metronomic pulse but a dancing rhythm definitely warmed in the tropics. Castelli stretches out more as this "party" chugs on, rolling and tumbling across bars beneath the guitar chords with all the crisp articulation of jazz and the roundhouse thump of rock. Their extended live version of this dance doubles its playing time.

"Floatin'" moves in more moderate meandering to sound precisely like its title promises, as Perez on guitar and Estoppey on keyboards fingerpaint sonic clouds in Jeff Beck / Jan Hammer watercolors that part for bass and guitar solos to shine through.

"For the Fallen" also floats along a thoughtful sound, opening with a guitar and keyboard duet that cymbals eventually sneak into from underneath. Castelli keeps in the background here more than on any other tune and stays mainly on brushes to keep his sound soft (and recorded so cleanly that it's clearly heard).

In "Samba Wamba Bamba," the closing studio track, Castelli swirls hard bop and jazz fusion into his rhythm mix before opening up an electric samba rhythm. He neatly shakes AND stirs snare drum and cymbals into the keyboards supporting the guitar solo, then energetically blasts through several unaccompanied breaks—rumbling and tumbling, articulate and melodic. Castelli stirs up the live version even more, splashing and slapping at the melody with cymbal and snare shots while Perez heats up his guitar with a sharp yet mellow, early 1970s George Benson sound.

"I write all the music for BOOM, which I feel not enough drummers do," Castelli suggests. "But as my father used to say: 'I'm not just a drummer. I'm a musician who plays the drums.'"

Track Listing

Studio: Vamos,Your Lucky Number;Floatin',For the Fallen,Party at One World Plaza,Samba Wamba Bamba Live:Vamos, Big Nick, Ramblin',Your Lucky Number, Party at One World Plaza, Floatin', Samba Wamba Bamba.

Personnel

Robert Castelli: drums; Dani Perez: guitar, electric; Gilles Estoppey: keyboards; Emilio Martin: bass, electric.

Album information

Title: Party at One World Plaza | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Castelli-in Cielo

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