279

Manuel Valera: Vientos

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Manuel Valera merges a classical woodwind quintet with his traditional jazz quartet on a whirlwind of original adventure and swing. His chamber jazz ambience has been influenced by classical composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Shostakovich but Valera has replaced the French horn from the classical idiom with a bass clarinet, giving a different texture to his ensemble. Five selections feature the jazz quartet alone—Joel Frahm (soprano and tenor saxophones), James Genus (bass) and Ernesto Simpson (drums)—while another seven pieces find them merged with the chamber ensemble.

Originally from Cuba, where he studied classical music as a saxophone major, Valera moved to New York where he switched to piano and immersed himself in the eclectic Big Apple musical arts scene. As a twenty-something jazz innovator, he's sure of himself and by integrating jazz and blues with classical winds, he's created a festive affair with plenty of soul. You can feel tango, mambo and rhapsody integrated with the swinging jazz textures.

The album's title means winds in Spanish and in his liner notes, Valera points out that he considered a double meaning when he put this album together, since his music has adopted a flowing, wind-like feel. The addition of oboe, flute, clarinet, bassoon and bass clarinet produces a clarion sonority that moves freely with ease. Throughout the session, Valera and Frahm float melodies that intertwine eloquently. The woodwinds do, indeed, lend a lovely blanket of sound that wraps up this recommended album with a sure twist of affection.


Track Listing: Vientos; A la Interperie; So You Say; Danz

Personnel: Manuel Valera: piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; James Genus: double bass; Ernesto Simpson: drums; Aaron Heick: oboe, English horn; Anne Drummond: flute, alto flute; Anat Cohen: clarinet; Charles Pillow: bass clarinet, English horn (8); Michael Rabinowitz: bassoon.

Title: Vientos | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Anzic Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Blow, Strike & Touch" CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Musical Journey Through Time" CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Spirits
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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