4

Gustavo Cortiñas: Snapshot

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
Gustavo Cortiñas: Snapshot By now, it shouldn't surprise anyone that jazz musicians often live itinerant lives. Everyone is from somewhere, but usually it's not here, wherever that is. Early jazz musicians—almost exclusively American—migrated from all over the country to the formative hot spots in Chicago and then, a little latter, New York. Today's musicians make those same migratory journeys for school or a gig or a scene, but their points of origin are as likely to be from foreign countries as domestic. Starting in Mexico and ending up in the Windy City via New Orleans seems as reasonable as anything else, and it does honor a time-honored jazz tradition: picking up new things in different places along the way and blending them together into something personal and unique.

Drummer Gustavo Cortiñas is making his debut as a leader with Snapshot, a collection of original compositions that run the gamut from straight-ahead cookers to mid- tempo blues and on through to ballads. The record is compositionally diverse and throws a bit of Latin tinge into the mix in subtle ways.

An example would be "La Balada Del Leon." The tune opens with a short, powerfully blue Victor Goines tenor statement followed by Kitt Lyles' bass solo. But it's the guitar comping of Michael Allemana, and Cortiñas' down-tempo cymbal work that adds a bit of subtle Bossa Nova undertone to the track. It won't hit you over the head, but it's there in the chords, the short chopped strumming, and the slow tapped-out beat. It's really nicely structured to blend its elements.

Cortiñas does a nice job showcasing his fellow musicians in a collegial ensemble with plenty of room for everyone to work out. It's the drummers' date because it says so on the cover, but you'd never know it from listening to the music. That's the mark of a good, self-confident musician: one who's willing to share the spotlight to ensure that the music is good, and not just his own individual performance.

But since it is the drummer's record it's worth pointing out that Cortiñas does turn in a great performance here. He's not a thunderous drummer, often relying instead on tapped lines floating between the cymbals and toms to keep time for the band around him. He does take a solo track, "Interlude," where he does his thing, but he's playing more for polyrhythmic effect than to show off how loud he can play. Even here he morphs the solo into the rhythmic foundation for the next track, "Wish I Could Be There Now." He's clearly thinking compositionally.

Snapshot features really well written music with a melodic beat, excellent individual performances, and it's rewarding to listen to. It's a strong debut, and if it's any indication of things to come it'll be worth following the recording career of Gustavo Cortiñas.

Track Listing: Timing Is Everything; When I Leave You; Chimeras; Skepticism; La Balada de León; Hanaki; Wish… (Interlude); Wish I Could Be There Now; When I Leave You (Another Perspective).

Personnel: Justin Copeland: trumpet; Victor Goines: tenor saxophone (1, 5, 8); Roy McGrath: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 4, 6); Michael Allemana: guitar; Kitt Lyles: double bass; Gustavo Cortiñas: drums, cymbals.

Title: Snapshot | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Heaven" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "More Figs And Blue Things" CD/LP/Track Review More Figs And Blue Things
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 18, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.