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Silvano Monasterios: Unconditional

Edward Blanco By

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Unconditional is pianist and composer Silvano Monasterios' debut album for the Savant label and his fourth effort as a band leader since 1998. Having studied at the University of Miami and being named the "Best Jazz Musician" by the Miami New Times, the Venezuelan-born pianist has chosen to settle in Miami and take advantage of the rich cultural backdrop of the community. It is in Miami where he found the talents of saxophonist Troy Roberts and drummer Rodolfo Zuniga to found his Fourth World Ensemble which he has been leading for the past three years.

Monasterios offers a varied selection of music drawing on South American rhythms, a touch of Brazil, up tempo jazz and the alluring laid back ballad found on the title track—each piece as inviting as the next. The pianist dedicates "Farmacia del Angel" (the angel's pharmacy), to his father, a doctor who introduced him to the piano in an expression of "unconditional" love. The piece features the pianist and Roberts on delicate passages. The music turns intense on "Monsieu Petit Noir" with passionate playing from both Roberts and the leader on a number dedicated to his pet dog who provides more "unconditional" love so important to this artist that he chose the word and its meaning as the theme of this project.

"Song For Jacques" is a two-part suite featuring plenty of Monasterios' playing and also featuring bowed bass lines from Jon Dadurka and exciting percussion from Jose Gregorio Hernandez and drummer Zuniga. Roberts—who remains prominent throughout—changes to the soprano sax on Phil Markowitz's "Sno Peas," a long-time favorite of the pianist, who writes a brilliant new arrangement for this occasion. Monasterios switches to the electric piano on the dark "Black Saint," blending African and South American rhythms with a modern jazz approach for the concluding piece of the album.

There are only eight pieces on Silvano Monasterios' monster of an album, yet each track of Unconditional is stylistically unique offering an assortment of colors inspired by the feelings of an unconditional situation, whether it's about love or the commitment to music.

Track Listing: Farmacia del Angel; Monsieur Petit Noir; A Song for Jacques, Part I; A Song for Jacques, Part II; Sno' Peas; Forgotten Gods; Unconditional; Black Saint.

Personnel: Silvano Monasterios: piano and keyboards; Troy Roberts: saxophones; Jon Dadurka: bass; Gabriel Vivas: bass (5, 7); Rodolfo Zuniga: drums; Jose Gregorio Hernandez: percussion.

Title: Unconditional | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Savant Records

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