What do you get when you blend a bit of Tango, Jazz, Latin and some chamber music? The answer? Pianist Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn nine-piece orchestra delivering their Second Half
album of World fusion music that is quite enticing. The album is the culmination of several years performing this particular ensemble in some of the best venues throughout New York City. For some time now, Solla has been an in-demand composer and arranging of music for large orchestras for various artists including Arturo O'Farrill and Paquito D'Rivera and for this album, the pianist designs a project of largely original compositions.
Employing a group of A-list players in an unusual instrumental format, the leader manages to produce a vibrant sound that catches one's attention even though the opening "Llegara, Llegara, Llegara," clocks in at over ten-minutes in length, while "Suite Piazzollana" endures at close to thirteen-minutes. Solla takes the standard piano trio format and adds a trumpet (Alex Norris
), trombone (Ryan Keberle
), a couple of reeds (Tim Armacost
) and John Ellis
), a violin (Meg Okura
) and an accordion (Victor Prieto
), to form one of the most unique ensembles around.
The music begins with a light introduction by the pianist on his opening "Llegara" (Will Come), developing nicely as Prieto's accordion and Okura's violin lead the way to a crescendo of horn sounds turning this starter tune into one of the most engaging tracks of the set. The following "Chakafrik" takes a slightly different direction with an almost modern jazz texture also found on the balladic "Para la Paz" (For the Peace) which contains several warm solos making this track, the soft spot of the disc.
The Tango sound seems in full display on the lively "Suite Piazzollana," perhaps entitled in tribute to the creator of the modern Tango sound, the great Astor Piazzolla
, Solla delivers his best solo performance of the album on a tune containing many mood swings and challenges. Bassist Jorge Roeder
and drummer Eric Doob
have their moments on "Esencia," while on the only non-original piece of the album, the F. White Meacham "American Patrol," is completely reimagined here as a Latinized version. After the rarified sounds of "Raro," the album ends on the light side with "Rhythm Changed," clearly one of the outstanding tunes of the recording.
Pianist Emilio Solla himself describes that, in the first part of his life, he has been ..."doing what I love to do: Playing," and that now with Second Half
, the pianist celebrates the beginning of the rest of his life, letting it all hang out performing the music he loves with his atypical band, La Inestable de Brooklyn. One sampling of Second Half
is enough to discern that this is not your standard jazz album which, most probably, is exactly what Solla had in mind, to be different. As such, the major difference here is, that this leader and group, have successfully fashioned a unique musical statement well worth a listen.
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).