Emilio Solla's music marries Argentinian tango and folklore sensibilities with American jazz and the sounds of Spain and, in the case of "Llegara, Llegara, Llegara," the stunningly beautiful fifteen minute opener on Sentido , the rhythms of Uruguay.
No music comes to us in a vacuum, of course, and of note here are the CDs that the sounds of Solla's latest bring to mind: Maria Schneider's recent near masterpiece, Concert in the Garden , and Wayne Shorter's much top ten-listed Alegra from last year; the former for its sense of fluid, lighter-than-air momentum; and the latter for the tenor saxophone approach of Gorka Benitez, Solla's reedman on Sentido. On Alegreí Shorter's tenor work seemed a mix of ethereal grace and an organic, almost woody tone. Benitez exhibits a similar distinctive sound, very reedy and almost surreal as he follows Carlos Morera's bandoneon on "Llegara, Llegara, Llegara."
What is evident on Sentido that wasn't quite so up front on Solla's previous outing, Suite Piazzollana, is the leader's piano. Solla's style is percussive, with a caressing, emotion-laden touch; percussive con cariñ you might say.
As adventurous and exotic as the compositions are herewith Solla's melodies that wander far afield of the formulaicthey always maintain a lilting and engrossing beauty. "Las Ultimas Pipas" has the feel of the Argentine zamba, and "Bajo Malambo" seems spontaneous as it dances between delicate lines and a rollick.
The mix of bandoneon and tenor sax swirling inside ebullient compositions with Solla's gorgeous piano work makes for a rapturous listening experience on this sure top ten of the year set.
Llegara, Llegara, Llegara; Las ultimas Pipas; Bajo Malambo; Milonga de Mis Amores; Vamos; Chac-a-Frik
Emilio Solla, piano; David Xirgu, drums; Gorka Benitez, sax and flute; Carlos Morera, bandoneon; Patrice
Caratini, bass; Aldo Caviglia, drums; David Ballesteros, violin