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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tony Malaby - Paloma Recio (New World Records, 2009) ****½

Regular readers of this blog will know my apprecation of Tony Malaby, and on this album he demonstrates again what a wonderful musician he is : technically brilliant, capable of many sounds on his tenor, from beautiful warm melodic sounds to unusual exploratory expressivity, he is at the same time a true artist, creating music that borrows from the known yet moves it into a different kind of perspective, making it rich, deeply felt as well as intellectually stimulating music. On Paloma Recio he is joined by three other brilliant instrumentalists: Ben Monder on guitar, Eivind Opsvik on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Their music is often soft, restrained, precise and full of tension, although there are moments when the tension gets unleashed, as on the long "Loud Dove", the translation of the album's title. In contrast to his superb "Tamarindo", there is more compositional structure to be found on this one, even clear themes, but the beauty lies in how the four musicians interact around those themes, creating shifting environments in which the melody flourishes, both rhythmically and harmonically. Sure, some of these must have been premeditated and even rehearsed, but the quality of the playing is of the kind that cannot be captured in musical scores. It's like with modern painting: the real attraction is not in the lines, but in what lies between them, the implicit quality of space, color, contrast, pace, and openness, offers a more powerful listening experience than any in-your-face melody and rhythm. The end result is a relatively accessible album, with a strong musical vision and powerful execution. Great!

Listen to an excerpt from "Lucedes"

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