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Victor Prieto: Persistencia

Mark F. Turner By

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There is a strange beauty in the accordion, a most unusual musical instrument. From polka to tango, the accordion has a sound that is instantly recognizable. It has surfaced more in popular music and jazz-influenced recordings, like Richard Galliano's Ruby, My Dear (Dreyfus, 2005). Victor Prieto now makes a most compelling case for the accordion as a primary jazz instrument on Persistencia.

Born in Spain and now living in New York, Prieto, who has extensive academic studies on the accordion, is the creator of a new technique called "chord approach on both hands," which enables the accordion to comp and solo in jazz terms with rich harmonies. The proof is in the music: on the first composition, "Frevo," Prieto uses his masterful technique to manipulate the accordion's rich timbre while he simultaneously gives birth to lightning-fast solos along with accompanying chords like a stride pianist.

Yet this is not just a showcase of just Prieto's brilliance, but also a view of an extremely taut trio with two other fine musicians—bassist Carlo DeRosa and drummer Allison Miller. Every composition reveals the trio's detailed articulation, covering modes of jazz, classiscal, tango, Brazilian and Celtic music. This assortment of influences contains a consistent theme of contemporary thinking and energy, as on the baroque "Mundos Celtas," where the trio riches a feverish climax. Check out Prieto's infectious comping as DeRosa delivers a wonderful solo.

Whether swinging vigorously, as on John Coltrane's classic "26-2," or dancing on "Libertango," the trio does it all with flair. "Muineira da Carmen" is a personal favorite, with its romantic and lush theme showing the trio and their respective instruments in total harmony. Allison Miller's performance again shows that she is one of the top trapsetters around. Every composition is enjoyable and memorable, and Persistencia should be heard.

Track Listing: Frevo; Muineira da Carmen; Contrasts in NY; Libertango; Persistencia; Mundos Celtas; 26-2; Only For You; Mugares.

Personnel: Victor Prieto: accordion; Carlo DeRosa: bass; Allison Miller: drums.

Title: Persistencia | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Foxhaven Records

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