Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo Coaster

248

Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo Coaster

By

Sign in to view read count
Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo Coaster
Chances are you have never heard the accordion played the way Victor Prieto plays it. Indeed, much like Toots Thielemans established the harmonica in the jazz lore huffing and puffing bop lines through his teeth, Prieto breaks the glass ceiling hovering above the crown of Cyrillus Demian's patented invention, squeezing improvised airs with a technical assurance that deserves more widespread recognition.

Long known for catapulting the French valse musette, the Bohemian polka, the French-Canadian reels, and the festive music of the Cajuns to a world stage, the instrument's acceptance into the jazz world has come rather slowly. Sure there have been other accordionists that have mined the genre before— Richard Galliano, Antonello Salis, Mat Mathews, Gianni Coscia, Art Van Damme and, lately, Frode Haltli—but aside from this honorable horde, the Hohners and Excelsiors have been found howling under quite a different moon.

Comes Prieto, with his refreshing, tango-meets-jazz-meets classical music bouquet; a cornucopia filled with earthly tones picked from the best splashed accords by the hands of a crafty artist. Add a premier weaver of melodies in soprano saxophonist Chris Cheek and the end result comes as engaging as a nightingale's courting chant. Together they make music that, despite claiming a strong foothold in the tango tradition, whistles through a wide range of stylistic influences. Their chanced meeting happened in the ensemble of top tango-jazz authority Emilio Solla.

The album opens with Hermeto Pascoal's "BeBe," an arrangement which might be described as a mix between Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n You" and a feverish Brazilian dance. Cheek's "Coo" follows. Taking turns at lashing out gripping yet rather succinct solos, the pair then segues into "Rollo Coaster," a relaxed piece in 7/4.

Things take a drastically different route as Prieto intones the church organ-like introduction to the confessional "Shelter." A somewhat odd turn of event in the program's unfolding, the change in mood is a surprise, feeling more like a concert of J.S.Bach's sacred music. Thought not a disagreeable move at all, the ploy nevertheless sharply departs from the mood the musicians have set so far. The feeling resurfaces halfway through "Papa Pin" before vacating the floor for the dancing "Rosa."

Rollo Coaster is a stylistically diversified effort; one which, on the different fronts inside which it maneuvers, breaks many barriers. Who knew the accordion could sound so intriguing?

Track Listing

Bebe; Coo; Rollo Coaster; Six Note Samba; Shelter; Chatting With Chris; Papa Pin; Rosa; Rio; Los Recuerdos; Improv I; Improv II; Improv III; Memories.

Personnel

Victor Prieto
accordion

Chris Cheek: soprano saxophone; Victor Prieto: accordion

Album information

Title: Rollo Coaster | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cheekus Music


Next >
Blackjazz

Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Solidarity
Zach Rich
Catharsis
Michiel Stekelenburg
A Canadian Songbook
Ernesto Cervini

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.