445

Robert Mitchell & Omar Puente at St. Cyprian's, London

Frederick Bernas By

Sign in to view read count
Robert Mitchell & Omar Puente
St. Cyprian's Church
London, England
April 1, 2008

This unlikely duo of acoustic piano and electric violin allows Robert Mitchell and Omar Puente to stretch their considerable abilities beyond the confines of a conventional jazz group. Perhaps more unconventional was the venue, literally a Church of Jazz, tucked away near Baker Street in central London.

This was the perfect acoustic for such a performance. Mitchell and Puente played a variety of standards, originals and a couple of Spanish songs, on which the Cuban violinist also sang. A highlight was Mitchell's composition "Envoy," a tricky piece in septameter. The pianist demonstrated his outstanding technique during an extended solo: his left hand would often hold a basic riff while the right took the lead, but he was not afraid to turn things around with the right maintaining fast sequences while the left struck down percussively or elaborated an improvised countermelody.

Puente also displayed the breadth of his technique, frequently switching between arco and pizzicato—the latter often offering provocative interjections during Mitchell solos. When the roles were reversed, Puente took the central position with the intense, fiery improvisation that has won him sideman gigs with the most respected musicians, including Courtney Pine and Denys Baptiste. His compositions were varied, expansive and occasionally complex, proving he is equally gifted with pen and bow. "Swings and Roundabouts" is a work of several movements, from cautious overture to intricately lyrical melodies and sharp bursts of simultaneous percussive co-ordination. "Somebody Backstage" reflects the same diverse character, but takes more of a relaxed ballad feel.

A finely-honed understanding exists between these two musicians, who bring out the best in each other. It's indeed fortunate that the F-IRE Collective has enabled this wonderful rapport to be captured on CD: Bridges was released in 2006. The partnership is at once a breath of fresh air for devout jazz fans and likely to appeal to lovers of classical chamber music.


Visit Robert Mitchell and Omar Puente on the Web.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Monterey Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2017
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Match&Fuse Dublin 2017 Live Reviews Match&Fuse Dublin 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard Live Reviews Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2017
Read WOMAD 2017 Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Punkt Festival 2017 Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Brilliant Corners 2017" Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Barranquijazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Barranquijazz Festival 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Soule Indomitable at Nectar's" Live Reviews Soule Indomitable at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: April 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.