This disc, Orígenes y Destinos , features Luis D’Elias on guitars, cuatro and the unusual Pentola. His extraordinary playing of every all instruments features well-regulated action and varied timbres and will likely attract string instrument mavens. More importantly D’Elias has an exceptional way with his music crafted with extraordinary Venezuelan passion and folkloric splendour. He imbues the little joropos Vientos Del Sur the lilting rhythm which mimics the bob and weave of the sea and the surf of the waves too – all of this with disarming simplicity that can only be borne out of sophistication. You will notice, for example, the subtle yet palpable tension and release in the inflections and accents of the piece and the flexible advantages of playing in the instrumental arrangements that are so full of passion and colour.
His outstanding rendition of Merengue Pa’l Camino boasts many impressive moments, from the suavely dispatched triplet sequences in the mid-section to the spacious, slightly disembodied sonorities that he conjures up towards the end of the merengue. That’s not to say that the rest of the album means nothing to me. On the contrary, these two songs prepare one for what happens throughout the album. Perhaps they are misplaced and should have come one after the other. Nevertheless, Luis D’Elias has obviously invested a good deal of thought and practice time into the wonderful music of the disc. Yet he pounces on the sudden and loud declamations of Vientos Del Sur and dives into the wild scales of the merengue, truly evoking the music’s improvisatory genesis.
In contrast with other Venezuelan musicians of his generation, Luis D’Elias in not only engagingly taut, he does not dive headlong into any music; rather he zeros in his attention on individual variations of tone colour and texture, revealing his fondness for expressive asides in the form of rubato, tenutos and rounding off phrases at the end of major sections in his songs. He especially gilds the joropos’ melodic lilies while the soft-grained voices of his vocalists highlight the music’s urgency with unexpected reharmonisation of the theme, which – as a strings player of considerable talent – he brilliantly underlines by slightly accelerating the basic tempo of the folk forms, mixing them with jazzy improvisations. But these folk melodies feature alluring tremulous effects and a cheeky multiple-note cadenza (in the joropo) right after the final resolution, while the merengue’s playful, almost jazzy lightness contrasts with his ensemble’s surging drive.
Thicker passages sometimes gain definition elsewhere in the disc – particularly in the two-part Tiembla Tierra. However there is greater definition through this viscosity along with ambient resonance. And the sound is fine throughout the disc.
Track List: Vientos del Sur; Noches de Lluvia; Onda; Dance, You’re On TV! Descendent; Merengue Pa’l Camino; Curiara Al Mar; Orígenes y Destinos; Tiembla Tierra I; Tiembla Tierra II.
Personnel: Lizje Sarria: vocals (3); Marianella Roja: vocals (8); Josh Plotner: flute, alto flute, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, EWI (3, 9, 10); Milena Jancuric: flute (1); Aaron Gratzmiller: soprano saxophone (2, 4, 6, 7); Stefano Melillo: violin (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10); Sergio Maestre: maracas and pandeiro (1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10); Luis D’Elias: guitars, cuatro, Pentola; Evan Waaramaa: piano and keyboard; P.J. Duffy: electric and acoustic bass; Brendan Pajak: drums.
About Luis D’Elias Ensemble
Right at the crossroads between Venezuelan folklore and contemporary music lays the soul of the Luis D’Elias Ensemble (LEDens for short). The New York based multi-cultural ensemble has dedicated its musical craft to developing a true blend of modern jazz harmonies, classical structures, rock and roll energy and Latin grooves, having South American and Venezuelan folklore as the melodic and rhythmic anchors of the ensemble’s repertoire. Read more…