Gabriel Vicéns Presents: Days

Gabriel Vicéns has a vivid and idiosyncratic affinity for the guitar as can be heard on Days, a disc that spans what might seem like many hours of illuminated activity in a studio. The New York based Puerto Rican musician and guitarist writes in a style that might be termed rugged lyricism, with near-vocal lines and harmonies taking unpredictable directions. A certain sonic pungency – that stems from his complete immersion in the Puerto Rican tradition encompassing everything from Jibaro to Danza. Now in New York city there is a distillation of those rhythmic idioms with imaginative touches throughout, into the roistering Nuyorican experimentalism.

The music of Days is informed by the electric brightness that comes from inspired work not only with the pen, but with the fingers that manipulate guitar strings at the fretboard and on the body with a dramatic synching of both hands. The songs are longish, allowing the guitarist and the other principal melodists to stretch the elasticity of the music to the maximum. Meanwhile almost imperceptibly Gabriel Vicéns uses vivid tonal colours wrapped around melodies in ways that suggest the challenges that the use of mixed metaphors (Jazz and Latin) often presents. “Morph” is a fine example of this kind of playing. Meanwhile in “Doing Circles” the voices of Gabriel Vicéns, Jonathan Suazo on alto saxophone and David Sánchez on tenor saxophone together with Alex Sipiagin on trumpet explore the various hues of the piece in close communication.

“Breaking Through Shadows” is a portentous work. Its necessary shadowy melodic inventions are vividly transposed to a rhythmic base that hold up the dark canopy of the harmonic interaction between the performers in the septet. The playing through is sublime, operating interpretatively on different, perhaps healthier planes that what others might be able to achieve, and in an authentic Latin-Jazz sort of way. The intensity is real and sounds gorgeous, the rhythms infectious, not the least because of the presence of Paoli Mejías‘ muscular percussion. It’s the kind of music that would drive an audience wild if performed on stage.

Gabriel Vicéns is an exceptional artist, with a shimmering sense of sonority and the ability to find a keen balance between poetry and intensity. With the rest of the ensemble providing their own superb brand of animation, this recording also stands out as a meeting of equals.

Track List: El Teatro; Days; Morph; Prelude to Amintiri; Amintiri; Doing Circles; Comprehend; Breaking Through Shadows; Justice.

Personnel: Gabriel Vicéns: guitar; Jonathan Suazo: alto saxophone; Bienvenido Dinzey: piano; Dan Martínez: bass; Leonardo Osuna: drums; David Sánchez: tenor saxophone (1-3, 6-9); Alex Sipiagin: trumpet and flugelhorn (1-3, 6-9); Paoli Mejías: congas and shaker 2 & 8).

Label: Inner Circle Music
Release date: October 2016
Running time: 1:12:44
Buy Gabriel Vicéns’ music: amazon

Previous articleRoberto Fonseca: ABUC
Next articleJorge Vera: Luz
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Bobby Paunetto, New York City and The Synthesis of Music

Bobby Paunetto was an unforgettable composer, arranger, musician and recording artist. Latin Jazz Network honors him on the tenth anniversary of his death (8.10.10). His...

Jazz Plaza 2020: Ancient to the Future

Chapter four of our series: 35th Jazz Plaza International Festival in Havana In recent months I found myself in profound reflection of the term...

Ray Martinez and the Forgotten Legacy of Jazz

Sometime in the very near future, several of the jazz world's best known writers and musicologists will meet in some obscure conclave to pool...

A Brief History of the Cuban Style Conjunto

1930: The Orquesta Típica is out and the Conjunto is in The year 1930 marked a turning point in the development of popular Cuban music....

Jazz Plaza 2020: Speaking in Tongues

Chapter three of our series: 35th Jazz Plaza International Festival in Havana Featured photo: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas at El Tablao in Havana, by Danilo...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more