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LIVE REVIEWS

David Virelles & Nosotros at Jazz Standard

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David Virelles & Nosotros feat. Román Díaz Jazz Standard New York, NY January 31, 2018 Since touching hallowed ECM ground in 2013, pianist David Virelles has opened minds of listeners far and wide. Despite the expansive reach of his art, however, the experience of hearing it live is nothing if not inward. Joined for two nights at Jazz Standard by percussionists Román Díaz and Keisel Jiménez, along with bassist Rashaan Carter, Virelles proved ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Gnosis

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Cuban-American pianist/composer David Virelles continues the exploration of Afro-Cuban musical traditions begun with his first recorded collaboration with vocalist/percussionist Román Díaz on Continuum (Pi Recordings, 2012), continuing through Mbókò (ECM, 2013) and Antenna (ECM, 2016). He uses “gnosis" to refer to ancient collective knowledge, and this music is about the intersection of cultures--contemporary improvisational language and Cuban sources, especially the sacred Abakuá percussion ensemble. There are over a dozen instrumentalists and vocalists employed, but they are mostly broken ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Antenna

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Pianist/composer David Virelles has combined his Cuban heritage with jazz before, most notably on his 2014 ECM leader debut Mbókò, which had the subtitle “Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses, Drum Set and Biankoméko Abakuá." But this EP--which is being released exclusively on vinyl and digitally--takes things in an entirely new electro-acoustic direction. It's a dense sonic stew of improvisation and ritual rhythmic grooves, a sound both urban and traditional. “Binary" opens with the sound of Los Seres, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Mboko

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For a relatively young musician nearing his 31st birthday in 2014, pianist David Virelles has managed to both garner a strong reputation and emerge with a singular voice in a relatively short period of time. While his early experiences in North America were within the confines of what might be expected from a Cuban expat, playing with Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett, whose career has been predicated on a decades-long fascination with the music of Virelles' native country, in recent years ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Continuum

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The Afro-Cuban connection is slightly transformed on nascent pianist David Virelles' inspirational trio set, featuring modern jazz luminaries, bassist Ben Street and drummer Andrew Cyrille. With his second solo outing and first for PI Recordings, the pianist has quickly surged to the forefront since migrating from Cuba to Canada, supporting distinguished saxophonist Jane Bunnett and receiving the first-ever Oscar Peterson Award. On “The Executioner," Virelles commingles traditional Latin jazz values with futuristic ideologies and benefits from Cuban ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Continuum

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Pianist David Virelles adopts an unusual strategy for his second album and first on Pi Recordings. Eschewing the piano pyrotechnics which illuminated his debut, Motion (Justin Time, 2008), he opts for an exploration of Cuban folklore and its manifestation through poetry, storytelling and art. Inspired by Afro-Cuban religious practice, Virelles has created a set of episodic tone poems and throbbing rhythms. Consequently there are only glimpses of the talent which has seen him named as one of four young pianists ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

David Virelles: Motion

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David Virelles Motion Justin Time Records 2008

Of all the fine new musicians to come out of Cuba in the last 5 or ten years, one of the most prodigiously talented is the pianist and composer, David Virelles. He began to study music formally at 7 years of age and later enrolled at Estaban Salas Conservatory of Music, Santiago, Cuba. But, much more significantly, Virelles' education included listening to his grandfathers' collection ...