Best of 2017 #18: Fabian Almazan & Rhizome – “Alcanza” (Biophilia Records)


There’s a huge presence to the latest from Fabian Almazan and his ensemble Rhizome.  The pianist’s theme of the individual’s connection to the environment plays out across a nine-movement suite, and its diverse mix of influences and instrumentation leads to heavy imagery and a sweeping grandeur.  In particular, the vocal contributions from Camila Meza create a harmonic environment highly conducive to soaring melodies, and a string section that includes site-favorite Tomoko Omura adds a majestic quality to send those melodies even higher.  It would appear from the very start, Alcanza had its sights set of a very high plateau.  It’s not really a question of whether it was achieved, because the true joy of this album is experienced by the way it takes flight.  That journey leads to a wealth of thrilling moments.

Music from NYC.

Read more on Bird is the Worm.