2

Gabriel Espinosa: Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Gabriel Espinosa: Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero American pop sophisticate Burt Bacharach and Mexican bolero icon Armando Manzanero may not seem like a good fit for a binary tribute album, but that combination actually works. Why, you ask? The answer is fairly simple: When you boil down the music that each of those men created, you're left with indelible melodies, beautiful and colorful harmonies, and personalized forms of language that, nonetheless, remain approachable.

Gabriel Espinosa, a bassist-vocalist with an affinity for the work of both honorees, seems to instinctively understand how to work the through line that connects the two. He doesn't overplay the qualities that make either composer unique and he doesn't try to twist or pervert the music (or lyrics) for the sake of a modern slant. He simply delivers the music as he hears it, giving due reverence while walking his own path.

Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero is split evenly between the titular figures, with five pieces per composer showing up on the playlist. Espinosa covers vocals on all of the Manzanero pieces, the incomparable Tierney Sutton steps into that starring role for the Bacharach numbers, and several notable guests add the finishing touches. Flautist Itai Kriss makes the most of his lone appearance on "(They Long To Be) Close To You," enhancing the overall atmosphere and mixing it up with Sutton on the way out; trumpeter Jim Seeley adds volumes to "The Look Of Love" and "Somos Novios," providing warm introductions and solos on each one; and harmonica wiz Hendrik Meurkens appears on four tracks, most notably bringing a wistful quality to "Como Yo Te Ame" and beautifully painting around Sutton (and in his own space) during "Alfie." A variety of others make their way in and out of the picture, as only two musicians—pianist Misha Tsiganov and drummer-percussionist Mauricio Zottarelli—take the full trip.

Despite the inconsistent personnel lineup and the two-pronged theme, nothing ever feels scattershot in its construction or delivery. That's a testament to Espinosa's vision. The album volleys from Manzanero to Bacharach and back again, constantly shifting focus from one composer (and one vocalist) to the other. But rather than highlighting the differences between the writers and the singers, that stroke of programming acuity makes the album speak as one. It allows the ears to adjust to what makes Manzanero and Bacharach similar, rather than what makes them different. True language and a cultural divide may separate the two, but pure emotion and the music-as-Esperanto philosophy bring them together.

Track Listing: Adoro; (They Long To Be) Close To You; Como Yo Te Amo; The Look Of Love; Esta Tarde Vi Llover; What The World Needs Now; Somos Novios; Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head; Cuando Estoy Contigo; Alfie.

Personnel: Gabriel Espinosa: vocals (1, 3, 5, 7, 9), electric bass (1, 8, 9); Tierney Sutton: vocals (2, 4, 6, 8, 10); Misha Tsiganov: piano, Fender Rhodes; Mauricio Zottarelli: drums, percussion; Jim Seeley: trumpet, flugelhorn (4, 7); Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica (3, 5, 8, 10); Gustavo Amarante: electric bass (2, 3, 4, 7); Joe Martin: acoustic bass (5, 6, 10); Rubens De La Corte: acoustic guitar (7, 9); Itai Kriss: flute (2); Jonathan Gomez: bongos (5, 9).

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Brazilian


Shop

More Articles

Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Glare of the Tiger CD/LP/Track Review Glare of the Tiger
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read From Two Balconies CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "In Love With" CD/LP/Track Review In Love With
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!