Recommended: Fernando Brox Quartet – “Secreto”


Some of you keep your distance from jazz recordings that feature the flute.  Look, I understand.  Perhaps more than any other instrument in jazz, flute is most precarious.  Too much intensity, and it sounds panicked and desperate.  Conversely, lower energies generate a sound that teeters on the edge of insubstantial cheesiness.  On Secreto, the quartet of flautist Fernando Brox, pianist Toni Siagi, bassist Pau Sala and drummer Andreu Pitarch strike a path right down the center of things, avoiding the pitfalls while accentuating the instrument’s strengths.  This straight-ahead set keeps to an even-keel, and that self-containment brings out the most not just from the flute, but in how all four instruments come together as one.

Tempos get a little brisk at times, like on the swinging “¡No Hombre!” and the soulful “El Poder de los Corazones,” and the result is a focused melody, wound tight.  When they do slow things down, as on “Lista de la Compra,” the patience is rewarded with a melody that reaches a full, dynamic bloom.  A different kind of bloom is achieved on the hard bop piece “Macoyero,” where youthful exuberance and old soul warmth instigate a range of emotional sparks.  And speaking of hard bop… even though the material does stick mostly to modern territory, Brox’s personal delivery is more than a little reminiscent of jazz giant James Clay back in the bop era.

“Roman Romanovsky” flirts with some swing and unleashes some playful bursts of staggered tempo, and that alone balances out the sole instance on the recording where things get a bit shrill.  Even then, the album is able to maintain its center of gravity and not let things spiral out of control.  It’s as symbolic of the album’s success as its stronger moments.

Just a solid album from start to finish.

Your album personnel:  Fernando Brox (flute), Toni Siagi (piano), Pau Sala (bass) and Andreu Pitarch (drums).

Released on Underpool Records.

Listen to more of the album on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Barcelona, Spain.

Available at: Bandcamp | Amazon