In his notes to Second Chance, pianist Hector Martignon reflects on second chances and the wide ranging impact they can have on a person. On another plane, he muses on the second chance he has given to some of the compositions he had played with other bands, or to which he had given a different interpretation.
Martignon's compositions sing eloquently, as they embrace a wide framework of styles. As a pianist, he essays a fine skill that is melodically intense and lyrically sweet with a deeply daubed emotional palette. His sense of direction and fulfillment goes a long way towards giving the music its depth and texture.
"Second Chance" bathes in a resplendent melody. It is immediately captivating with Xavier Perez setting the tone, as he weaves the melody in a bop-ish strain. The mood is carried on by vibraphonist Tim Collins, his arching runs effectively taking the refrain into a lighter frame. Martignon's chords punctuate the beat and ripple like a sparkling brook.
Martignon was inspired by a victim of the Bosnian war to write the bittersweet "She Said She Was From Sarajevo." He enunciates the melody, transposing improvised runs, his ideas fermenting and gathering momentum. His chord work is again structured countering the fluidity of his notes, as he opens the vista with exclamatory figures. The end finds the band turning on the heat, with bass and drums adding spark to the rhythm.
Besides six of his own, Martignon has included four standards. "Bala Con Bala," written by Joao Bosco (one of his idol), gives the band plenty of space to solo. The tune has an immediacy that Martignon plumbs to the heart; crisp and elevating, he opens the door for trumpeter John Walsh's bop drive on a tune that, artfully compulsive, is saturated in the players' musicality.
The energetic "Alone Together" is a potent stew of ideas that fall in a cascade, as Martignon takes the tune into a hot, sweaty realm. Perez continues to stoke the flame on the saxophone with thick, curling lines. The atmosphere remains charged until the last note jumps out from percussionist Samuel Torres, and the coda rolls into silence.
Bala Con Bala; Second Chance; Coqueteos; Guaji-Rita; Andrea; She Said She Was From Sarajewo; Abre Los Ojos; Hatari; A Long Farewell; Alone Together.
Hector Martignon: piano, accordion (7); Armando Gola: bass; Ludwig Afonso: drums; Samuel Torres: percussion; Xavier Perez: saxophones; Tim Collins: vibraphone (1, 2, 7, 8); Vinny Valentino: guitar (1); Edmar Castaneda: harp (3); John Walsh: trumpet, flugelhorn; Edward Perez:bass.