Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

31

The Black Butterflies: Rainbows For Ramon

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The Black Butterflies' debut, 1 De Mayo (Self Produced, 2010), introduced an ensemble that found beauty in brashness and an all-inclusive recipe for musical creation. The group found its way by liberally mixing free jazz, Latin music, blues, John Coltrane-like spiritualism, primal urges and strong rhythmic elements, giving their music a sense of raw immediacy that's lacking in so many of today's shiny, overly-polished bands.

The architect of this ensemble is Mercedes Figueras, an Argentinean-born saxophonist who came to New York with nothing more than her saxophones and determination. Over the course of her four-and-a-half-years stateside (and counting), Figueras has played subways, tackled Afrobeat with the Drumadics, recorded an album of freely improvised duets with drummer Martin Visconti, taken to the streets with drummer Kenny Wollesen's Himalayas and taken a seat in Karl Berger's Improvisers Orchestra. Her broad-toned blowing—which can become gorgeously gritty and slightly tart on command—is the antithesis of the academia-made saxophonist sound that's so prevalent in today's players; she possesses an unmistakable sonic identity.

The Black Butterflies' sophomore effort continues to build on the melting pot aesthetic that underscored its debut. The band moves from animal-driven anarchy ("Intro To The 3 Monkeys") to sunny melodies ("The 3 Monkeys") without batting an eye, making less-than-normal transitions seem commonplace. Galloping grooves lead to group-based vocals ("Rainbows For Ramon"), glimmering and gorgeous sounds ("Wind Chimes") butt up against the bold and brazen ("Lumkili"), and Gershwin slowly roams through a climate dripping with humidity and percussive dressings ("Summertime"). Figueras comes across as a free-blowing firebrand when walking in the footsteps of saxophonist Pharoah Sanders ("Lumkili") or engages in cutting dialogue with saxophonist Tony Larokko, but she's also a gifted sculptor of melody.

This album, on the whole, has a more mature outlook than its predecessor, but retains the anything-is-possible joie de vivre that made that record so powerful. Berger, who was absent on the debut, comes onboard here and brings a sense of balance and warmth to the frontline with his winning vibraphone work. Cleaner production values and the substitution of pianist Levi Barcourt, who paints within the lines, for Dan Tepfer, who proved to be more of an outside thinker on the prior release, help to give the music greater definition.

Rainbows For Ramon is a spirited, colorful outing that's built on a love for music of all shapes and sizes; it's a rainbow of musical expressions, if ever there was one.

Track Listing: Intro to The 3 Monkeys; The 3 Monkeys; Together; Summertime; Rainbows For Ramon; Wind Chimes; Lumkili; Balafon Madness.

Personnel: Mercedes Figueras: saxophone; Tony Larokko: saxophone and percussion; Nick Gianni: bass; Levi Barcourt: piano; Bopa “King” Carre: percussion; Fred Berryhill: djembe, percussion; Kenny Wollesen: drums; Karl Berger: vibes, melodic.

Title: Rainbows for Ramon | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Clarinet (& Piano)" CD/LP/Track Review Clarinet (& Piano)
by John Eyles
Published: February 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor