Argentine-born pianist Emilio Solla has moved around the globe a bit to find perfection in his art: studies in the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires, then to New York for more immersion at the Aaron Copland School of Music, and a move to Barcelona, Spain, where he recorded the marvelous Suite Piazzollana (Fresh sound New Talent, 2001) with a mostly Spanish ten piece ensemble. Ten years after his move to Spain, Solla pulled up roots once more, to move back to New York. More CD releases followed, but nonesince all the way back to Suite Piazzollanahave been so ambitious and successful as his Second Half, with his top notch nonet, La Inestable de Brooklyn.
The tango and South American rhythms reign, with definite American influenceshis group sound is downright Ellingtonian on the opening of the disc's second offering, "Chakafrik," whereas "Para La Paz" sounds as if it could be floating out of a club in Buenos Aires, a bit after midnightMeg Okuras violin dancing with Victor Prieto's sighing accordion, giving way to a robust tenor sax solo from John Ellis. Alex Norris' trumpet signs in, the violin makes a statement in the background, Solla's piano plays soft, pretty notes. And as it was on Suite Piazzola, Solla's arranging skills prove here themselves of the highest order, on the same shelf as those of Maria Schneider's, on slightly smaller scale. Speaking of "Suite Piazzolla," Solla revisits Part 1 of that title tune to the previous disc here, sounding livelier, a bit more freewheeling, with a section featuring a gorgeous smolder when Solla, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Eric Doob take center stage for a dark toned piano trio interlude.
"Estancia," with the different instruments floating in and out of the mix, sounds like South America's take on New Orleans, and "American Patrol," the only tune not written by Solla/ It was composed by F. White Meacham and got treated to Solla's "South Americanization," making it feel like a soundtrack to the streets of New York, around the dawn of the twentieth century, with an Argentinian tinge.
A masterful record by an absolutely first rate composer/arranger.
Llegara, Llegara, Llegara; Chakafrik; Para La Paz; Suite Piazzollana; Esencia;
American Patrol; Raro; Rhythm Changed.
John Ellis: tenor saxophone, flute, bass clarinet; Tim Armacost: tenor saxophone,
soprano saxophone, alto flute; Alex Norris: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ryan Keberle:
trombone; Meg Okura: violin; Victor Prieto: accordion; Emilio Solla: piano; Jorge
Roeder: bass; Eric Doob: drums; Pablo Aslan: bass (7); JP Jofre: bandoneon (3);
Marcelo Woloski: bombo leguero (2, 6).
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