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Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid/C

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Carlos Cippelletti

Carlos Cippelletti celebrates the Cuban part of his gloriously evocative, mixed heritage with great expressive freedom in the magical repertoire on his album, Hybrid/C. The works on this disc feature sublime and frequently blurred tonality and richly hued harmonies in a dramatic collision with rhapsodic atmospheric vocals, and a propulsive rhythmic machine full of flashing colours – all adding up to vivid orchestral evocation of Afro-Cuban music. There can be no doubt that the introductory chant sounds more elegantly spectral and ethereal thanks to the combined efforts of the drummers, together with the dallying echoes of the vocal sound design by David Lorenzo Adkinson, and the raw-silk bellow-and-moan of the bass clarinet of Christian Murgui. What a powerful and affecting way to begin this album…

Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid-C
Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid-C

The richly expressive and authentic and reverent Afro-Cuban music pierces the listeners’ mind’s mind with two minutes of devotional intensity voiced in Yoruba [no doubt by the bàtá drummer], entitled “Mobuya”. This refers to Moyuba Baba, Moyuba Yeye – and is a praise song for Oshun and Obatala. However, unlike anything you may have heard before, the one on Mr Cippelletti’s album rises amid a fragrant aura, invoking Elegua [Obatala , Odudua tratao, Yeye O aremi , Bembe lere awo – Yoruba chants] with a mystical hint of the ancient “Auld Lang Syne” – together suggestive of new beginnings. The ethereal, atmospheric use of electronics as the setting for the invocation is Mr Cippelletti’s  masterful way of using his musicality to pierce and enter the sacred portal of Elegua.

From there onwards, much of the music is shrouded in the powerful echo of Afro-Cuban bàtá and conga drums – the melodic and rhythmic thunder of elaborate and seductive rhythms that rise to eminence like a moving wall [of rhythm];  the perfect backdrop for the magical melodic and harmonic elements of the music to unfold. Mr Cippelletti rides the wave almost inscrutably at first, as he lets the chants, and later the horns, become the lead voices through “Ilé-Ifé”, “Ebi” and “Iya Mi ilé”. Soon, however, the pianist embarks on a noble introduction to the eloquent bolero “Aite” and he is supported exquisitely by the muted colours of Manuel Machado’s trumpet and the celebrated Bobby Martínez’s winds.

Throughout the recording, of course, the steady rumble of the drums, the congas and the bàtá drums played by Georvis Pico, Erik Larrea [supported by Yuvisney Aguilar], and the might tumbling roar of the contrabass played by the inimitable Reinier Elizarde “El Negrón” make the most glorious music. This is uplifting for Afro-Cuban music and, when combined with Santeria chants, these rhythmic ‘arias’ transform the great emotional range of the music unlike any other music that you are likely to hear. Among Cuban pianists, only Chucho Valdés [with his Afro-Cuban Messengers – especially – on Border Free – released on Harmonia Mundi , Jazz Village in 2013], and Gonzalo Rubalcaba on his early Grupo Proyecto album – Suite 4 y 20 – on Blue Note in 1992] have sounded as intense as Mr Cippelletti does on Hybrid/C.

Amid the rich colours emerging from the [elegant harmonic and powerful rhythmic] orchestrations of this music, there is a wholly natural feeling to the climaxes where sudden changes of direction are so perfectly judged [listen to “Dinza”, for instance] in these performances. This is a singular measure of how well Mr Cippelletti performs as conductor – and with sublime virtuosity – as a soloist. From the perfumed heaviness of the opening to the rapturous piano arabesques of subsequent music a profoundly meditative, mysterious and joyfully ebullient mood is created throughout the almost-one-hour of majestic music.

Tracks – 1: Moyugba; 2: Ilé-Ifé; 3: Ebi; 4: Iya Mi ilé; 5: Aite; 6: Amewa; 7: Dinza; 8: Black Ballad; 9: Lu-Fuki; 10: The Proverb

Musicians – Carlos Cippelletti: piano, compositions and arrangements; Bobby Martínez: tenor and soprano saxophones; Manuel Machado: trumpet; Gregorio Herreros: keyboards, synthesizers and electronics; Reinier Elizarde: contrabass; Georvis Pico: drums; Erik Larrea: bàtá drums and congas. Guest Artists – Maria José Llergo: vocals [1, 10]; Yuvisney Aguilar: bàtá drums, congas, and vocals [4]; David Lorenzo Adkinson: sound design vocal effects [9. 10]; Alvaro Artime: trumpet [7]; Cesar Filiú: alto saxophone [7]; Christian Murgui: bass clarinet [1, 10]

Released – 2022
Label – Outhere Music [OTN 642]
Runtime – 57:50

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.

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