Aug 29 2017
There’s the magician. He’s staring back at you from on stage. He holds his hands up to you. They are empty. He waves them quickly about, clenches them into a fist, and then slowly pulls out a beautiful, silky melody. That’s pretty nice, you think. Pretty melodies are nice. But it’s not over. There’s more to be revealed. It’s another silky melody, just as pretty as the last, but different in tone and color. And so it goes, one melodic fragment after the other, a dazzling array of colors, one after the other, a series of connections that seem improbable but are too gorgeous to do anything with other than admire.
Some albums are like that. The newest from pianist Emilio Reyna certainly is. La Lenta Marcha de las Estrellas is unending melodic beauty. It’s has seven tracks, but the way one flows into the confluence of those that preceded it give the feel of an extended suite. The album opens with the fiery title-track, a song that is lifted up with intensity and then floats back down to earth on the wings of gentle harmonies. It’s a different motion on the two-part “Nostalgia,” with Reyna’s piano lines sent out in bursts of repetition, building the melody with a methodical precision as vocals melt into its flow and soloists take flight and circle the melody’s path.
The sextet is a perfect size for this recording. It has the numbers for Reyna to craft richly detailed passages without it ever getting bulky or fussy because of too many instruments on the bandstand. That the music remains fluid is essential to it remaining lively as an extended work, while also allowing the individual personalities of each tune to be fully realized.
The album settles into a tranquil state for the homestretch. A rendition of Bach’s “Erbarme Dich” adds a solemn tone to the affair, while “Provocador de sueños” hits a melancholy note, and then the finale of “Mediation Song” and the whole ensemble coming together in unison, harmonies and melody like a lullaby and just as comforting and at peace.
A seriously beautiful album.
Your album personnel: Emilio Reyna (piano, voice), Mike Bjella (tenor sax, voice), Simon Millerd (trumpet, voice), Ted Crosby (bass clarinet, voice), Mathieu McConnell-Enright (double-bass, voice), Louis-Vincent Hamel (drums, voice) and guests: Eugenie Jobin, Gabriela Taillefer Pérez, Sophia Aronoff (voices).
The album is Self-Produced.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from Montreal, Québec.
Available at: Bandcamp