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Album Review

Gabriel Vicéns: The Way We Are Created


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Gabriel Vicéns: The Way We Are Created
Puerto Rican jazz guitarist & composer Gabriel Vicéns has been living in New York City since 2016 but, for this album, he chose to explore traditional Puerto Rican music (Bomba and Plena—music and dance styles born from African slavery and Caribbean influences) blended with his own compositional style. He was also exposed to Cuban Changüí, and began incorporating some stylistic devices from it into his guitar playing.

The title tune begins the program with an infectious ostinato pattern and a sinuous theme. After the bridge Vicéns launches into the first of many memorable guitar solos, followed by a new groove featuring Roman Filiu's alto saxophone, then E.J. Strickland's drum solo and the return of the head. In addition to strong guitar and piano solos "It Doesn't Matter" highlights percussionist Victor Pablo .

"The Upcoming" and "A City Of Many Mysteries" both revel in their up-tempo Latin grooves from the bomba tradition. "To the Unknown" is a spirited plena which gives bassist Rick Rosato a bit of space alone with drums and percussion (a nice addition to his solid rhythm section playing throughout the album).

The program includes an interesting group of short pieces. "Caribeño Pensador" and "Retorno" are both rhythmic exercises performed as guitar and percussion duets, while "Fuera de mi Cuerpo" is an industrial sounding noise-guitar miniature, a startling contrast to the rest of the album. "The Mystery of S.T." ends the set with a blast of Latin jazz in hard bop mode, including generous solo space for the leader and alto saxophone.

The album title is a tribute to the power of all artistic expressions, including both the music and Vicéns' striking abstract paintings which adorn the album. We are all born to be creative, he says, and The Way We Are Created is a strong argument in favor.

Track Listing

The Way We Are Created; It Doesn't Matter; Caribeño Pensador; The Upcoming; A City Of Many Mysteries; Fuera de mi Cuerpo; To the Unknown; Retorno; The Mystery of S.T.


Gabriel Vicéns: guitar; Roman Filiu: saxophone, alto; Glenn Zaleski: piano; Rick Rosato: bass, acoustic; E.J. Strickland: drums; Victor Pablo : percussion.

Album information

Title: The Way We Are Created | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music

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