Wednesday, October 24, 2012

David Virelles - Continuum (Pi Recordings, 2012)

Up and coming pianist David Virelles performs with Andrew Cyrille on drums, Ben Street on bass and Roman Diaz on percussion and poetry on this unusual and interesting album. The great multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers said that his performances were often distillations of longer compositions, and the music here unfolds the same way, as if the individual pieces were parts of a larger and more cohesive whole that would be revealed over time. Virelles recently moved to New York to study composition with Henry Threadgill, so that goes a long way toward explaining his unique approach. On “Our Birthright,” the centerpiece of the album, the core group is joined by saxophonists Roman Filiu and Mark Turner, and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson. This performance is strong and intense, recalling the early 1970's work of Pharoah Sanders with its spiritual intensity and torrid improvisation of horns with ripe piano, drumming and vocals. "Celebration" builds intense percussive piano to excellent effect while "Manongo Pabio" adds electronics and swirling drone to strong and powerful drumwork. The music on much of the album is inspired by Cuban music, but develops its own pace and structure rather than fall into any pre-defined "Latin Jazz" category. It's also interesting to note that the compositions on this album were inspired by paintings that Virelles saw during a trip to Cuba, since the short performances that make up this album have a strong vision based element. Continuum - amazon.com

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