Rivorecords: Blue Notes from Buenos Aires

Jakob Baekgaard By

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The title track is penned by Tadd Dameron, who has been called the "romanticist of the bebop movement," but there isn't anything slow or contemplative about the propulsive rhythms conjured by Shocron and her cohorts. However, there is a chance to hear the softer side of Dameron in a gentle interpretation of "Soultrane" where bassist Jerónimo Carmona provides a well-structured solo.

Shocron is classicaly trained and came relatively late to jazz, but it's hard to believe she wasn't born a jazz musician. The music pours out of her effortlessly and her lines have a singable quality that makes her improvisations a joy to follow.

It also helps that Carmona is just as strong a melodic capacity as Shocron. He is the deeper current behind her melodic motifs and drummer Eloy Michelini's superb playing on the cymbals and toms is the epitome of swing. On Irving Berlin's classic "Change Partners" he takes some sly cues from Vernell Fournier and cooks up a simmering rhythm that brings out the best in the song.

It all ends with a soliloquy. Shocron alone at the piano playing Duke Ellington's "Melancholia" and there is, indeed, a certain sadness when a lovely record like this has to end.

Paula Shocron

Serenade in Blue


Serenade in Blue sees the return of Shocron's trio, but this time around, bassist Jerónimo Carmona is replaced by Juan Manuel Bayón. Fortunately, this doesn't change the chemistry of the trio. Eloy Michelini still works wonders behind the kit and Shocron's melodic gifts are undiminished.

From the first note of Duke Pearson's "Jeannine," the trio's sound is instantly recognizable. The inspiration from pianist Ahmad Jamal's famous trio with drummer Vernel Fournier and bassist Israel Crosby is perhaps even more clear, but there is also a little Latin flourish in the ticking rhythms of "Nica's Dream," originally penned by Horace Silver, and the title track offers the kind of deep lyricism associated with Bill Evans, with broad, crystalline harmonies, adding a touch of Casablanca-nostalgia.

With its fast runs across the keys "Fine and Dandy" might as well be called "Fire and Dandy." The trio definitely burns in a cool manner and Michelini delivers a short, but inspired solo while Bayón plays walking bass patterns.

"SP" offers a welcome chance to hear an original composition and is a lovely mid-tempo melody with echoes of Horace Silver. The bass introduces the pulse of the song and Shocron slowly builds momentum and lets the music unfold. Serenade in Blue ends on a solemn note with a blue ballad, "The Star-crossed Lovers," underlining why a solo album by Shocron would be a treat.

Loicono / Shocron

Warm Valley


Paula Shocron's trio from Our Delight resurfaces on Warm Valley where trumpeter Mariano Loiacono shares the bill with Shocron as co-leader. Like Shocron, Loiacono has a background in classical music. He studied with Fernando Ciancio, one of the most prominent trumpet-players in classical music and then turned to jazz at the age of 21. Since then, he hasn't looked back and has become a respected jazz musician, who is an important part of the vital jazz scene in Buenos Aires.

On Warm Valley, Loiacono sticks to the flugelhorn and the warm richness of the instrument is the perfect counterpart to the airy expression of the trio. The musicians kick off with "Bird Song," Thad Jones' homage to Charlie Parker, where the unison lines of piano and brass burn with the energy of bop.

Then follows Paula Shocron's "Elvin," a relaxed swinging piece that introduces guest-musician Sebastián Loiacono, who also spins some crisp balladic lines on "The Nearness of You" where the spirit of Ben Webster is revived.

The repertoire, as usual with Rivorecords, mixes the occasional original composition with familiar and less played standards. "Warm Valley," like the title implies, is a warm landscape of sound where Loiacono's skill as a balladeer comes to the fore with a Chet Baker-like sensitivity and the melody is certainly one of Duke Ellington's gems.

Good melodies, a strong guest appearance and fine solo spots from two of the finest artists of Rivorecords. This sums up Warm Valley.

Mariano Loiacono

What's New?


Compared to the mellow beauty of Warm Valley, Loiacono's session as a leader for Rivorecords is a much more fiery affair. The opener "It's You Or No One" is a case in point, with its high-octane rhythm and muscular duels between Loiacono and saxophonist Gustavo Musso.

Adding alto saxophonists Sebastián Loiacono and Ramiro Flores on an interpretation of Nat Adderley's "Work Song" almost gives a feeling of big band and the musicians blow their horns with passion. However, it doesn't take more than Musso and Loiacono to make the music hot and pianist Francisco Lo Vuolo also plays with great sensitivity and zest.


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