Melissa Aldana: VisionsBy
As opposed to what might be expected from her, due to her being of Chilean descent and the album being largely inspired by the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the compositions here don't burst of Latin American influence, neither in their rhythmic nor melodic nature, but only subtly incorporate some of those elements. However, the opening title track is everything but subtle, and immediately confronts the listener with the hard-bopping talents at hand. A harmonically as well as rhythmically intricate head is introduced by sax and vibes in unison while piano and drums restlessly stack patterns to lively bass stabs.
Here and throughout the album, Harris' piano accompaniment as well as solo improvisation show just how far his harmonic understanding reaches and how deeply into the tradition of his idolsmost prominently Thelonious Monkhe is able to dig. The slight dissonances that derive from his harmonic framing are rebelliously undermined by Tommy Crane's ferocious drumming.
Even on the quieter takes, such as ballads "Abre Tus Ojos" or "Never Let Me Go," the sole standard on this set, the band plays with an urgency that is contagious. Harris' chromatic harmonic side stepping on the latter tune emulates a smirk that is as sassy as they come, reminiscent of his contemporary Sullivan Fortner in style and temperament.
Speed and quantity of notes are characteristics Aldana couldn't care less about. Her playing is subtle and elegant and of a highly melodic nature while the saxophone's tone is contrastingly dry in the mix, thereby not the center of attention but part of the whole, like any color in camouflage. Contrary to camouflage however, the colorful palette on display here is everything other than inconspicuous. It has the flashy traits of fauvism mixed with the neon of Warhol and a graceful finish like fine brush strokes on canvas.
Melissa Aldana's Visions proves itself a highlight of this year.
Visions; Acceptance; La Madrina; Perdón; Abre Tus Ojos; Elsewhere; Dos Casas Un Puente; Never Let Me Go; The Search; Su Tragedia; El Castillo de Velenje; Camino al Sol.
Melissa Aldana: saxophone; Sam Harris: piano; Joel Ross: vibraphone; Pablo Menares: bass; Tommy Crane: drums.
Title: Visions | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Motéma Music
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About Melissa Aldana
Instrument: SaxophoneArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists