118

Alexis Cuadrado Sextet: Visual

By

Sign in to view read count
Alexis Cuadrado Sextet: Visual Barcelona-born bassist Alexis Cuadrado has spent much time on both sides of the pond, as a sideman of Kurt Rosenwinkel and Bruce Barth; a student of Larry Grenadier and Francois Rabbath; and a teacher in New York, his current home. On Visual, his second outing as a leader (after 2001's Metro ), Cuadrado is joined by Kris Bauman (alto saxophone, clarinet), John Ellis (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, bass clarinet), Steve Cardenas (guitar), and the Ferber twins, Mark and Alan (drums and trombone, respectively).

The sextet covers a wide stylistic palette, ranging from light funk ("Quick," "Black Tulip") to strangulated free skronk ("Mario's Pencil," which harks back to Ornette's Free Jazz, with its different take in each speaker) to the edge of mainstream ("Camperdown Elm").

The opener, "J Ride," is a bit of a conundrum. While unfolding with a promising, crafty highjacking of Coltrane's "My Favorite Things," the focus soon shifts to Ellis' soprano, which, like that of most post-Trane players of the instrument, veers toward the airy and featureless. It's got to be a tough horn to find your own voice on: so many soprano players claim to be inspired by Trane or Pharoah Sanders but end up sounding more like Kenny You-Know-Who. While as a sopranoist Ellis clearly does not belong in the company of the G-man, it's still his warm alto work (see "Camperdown Elm") that's his stronger suit.

Visual's true standout track is "El Gran Profeta," named for a sculpture by Pablo Gargallo. With a merciless, punk-like descending riff and wild, loose swing, the tune boasts some wonderfully aggressive blowing by Ellis and Bauman, along with Cardenas' tough, distorted solo and comping (a listen to Panorama, the guitarist's own set on FSNT, is my next stop, posthaste). Also memorable is the lovely version of Victor Jara's "Te Recuerdo Amanda," an arrangement for five basses. Overdubbed track by track in Cuadrado's living room, the piece is poignant and lonely, the leader's heartrending, bowed notes drifting forlornly over his deep, plucked tones.

While there are certainly enough brilliant episodes herein to recommend a spin, what Visual lacks is cohesiveness. Cuadrado is obviously well versed in several styles and takes his inspiration from not only his mentors, but from his bandmates, too (he's played both in Ellis' and Alan Ferber's groups). At this early stage of his journey as a leader, however, Cuadrado is still in the process of hammering out a signature sound.

Track Listing: 1- J Ride (Cuadrado) 6:42 / 2- Black Tulip (Cuadrado) 8:11 / 3- El Perro (Cuadrado) 7:10 / 4- El Gran Profeta (Cuadrado) 7:31 / 5- Te Recuerdo Amanda (Jara/arr. Cuadarao) 5:00 / 6- Camperdown Elm (Cuadrado) 7:46 / 7- Mario's Pencil (Cuadrado) 7:41 / 8- Quick (Cuadrado) 5:28.

Personnel: Alexis Cuadrado - bass, leader / Kris Bauman - alto saxpohone, clarinet / John Ellis - tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, flute / Alan Ferber - trombone / Steve Cardenas - guitar / Mark Ferber - drums.

Title: Visual | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Penumbra" CD/LP/Track Review Penumbra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Ida Y Vuelta" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Y Vuelta
by James Nadal
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "As It Should Be: Ballads 2" CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Of Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Of Tides
by John Eyles
Published: March 7, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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