Globalism has been hardest on the cultures of the so-called global south, countries and cultures that have been all but economically colonized by the elite economies of the global north. However, one aspect of those economically challenged cultures, is that like reeds and bull-rushes by a fast-moving river, they [the cultures] may bend, but never break.
Take music, for instance – in particular, the music of Brasil, Cuba, Colombia – and in this case the music of Argentina. From Alberto Ginastera and Astor Piazzolla and from pianists Carlos Franzetti, Guillermo Klein, Emilio Solla to Emilio Teubal, the global-north may have attracted and caused them to relocate, but they have all given much more than they may have taken those who have sought to “import” – even absorb them culturally.
On his sixth album as leader, Emilio Teubal, an extraordinary young composer and pianist has shown that he is made of all the right stuff. This is also why he ought to be mentioned in the same breath as someone like Guillermo Klein, for like Mr Klein, Mr Teubal has shown us – both as composer and performer – that he has brought much original thinking to the osmotic process that defines the brave new world of popular music.
The repertoire of Futuro represents a huge performance, of enormous intensity and sweep, and in the heat of the moment it’s hard not to get carried away. Mr Teubal’s playing is what you might call old-school, in the best way – ardent and rich-toned in fortissimo as well as in pianissimo. Thus, he makes exquisite, musically emotional statements – as in Los Últimos Serán los Primeros [dedicated to his late father].
Everywhere he uses his virtuoso pianism, not in a gratuitous manner, but an effortlessly fluid way of draping itself over a phrase. His masterful melding of traditional rhythmic Argentinean dance forms: zamba on the elegiac Tokyo Trenque, a spritely chacarera, which informs Los Que Fluyen. Best of all, he mixes it all up on an elegant chacarera-infused and oft-interpreted Lennon-McCartney classic Blackbird.
Mr Teubal even bends his head full of ideas in the otherworldly Children of MMXX, the rhythms of which sweep across for the Argentinean pampas to the dunes of the Middle East, while the melody seems to protrude from rocky promontories even further afield.
His cast of musicians includes bassist Pablo Lanouguere and drummer Chris Michael, both of whom navigate the eloquent complexities of the pianist’s music. The inimitable percussion colourist Brian Shankar Adler replaces Mr Michael, [who was incapacitated by long-haul COVID] and fits right into the pianist’s vision and artistry. Guitarist Fedo Díaz, clarinetist Sam Sadigursky and vibraphone player Chris Dingman enhance the balance of warmth and clarity of the music to superb effect.
If you find yourself bedazzled it’s because Mr Teubal’s music has that kind of magnificent effect on your sensibilities.
Music – 1: Futuro; 2: Children of MMXX; 3: Cinco en Seis Cuerdas; 4: Rio; 5: Tokyo Trenque; 6: Remolinos [Tolerance]; 7: Los Que Fluyen; 8: Tortuga; 9: Blackbird; 10: Los Últimos Serán Los Primeros.
Musicians – Emilio Teubal: piano; Pablo Lanouguere: contrabass and electric bass; Chris Michael: drums [2, 4, 8, 9 10]; Brian Shankar Adler: drums and percussion [1, 3, 5 – 7]; Fedo Díaz: guitar [1, 5, 7]; Sam Sadigursky: clarinet [1, 5, 7]; Chris Dingman: vibraphone [3, 6, 9].
Released – 2023
Label – Not Yet Records 
Runtime – 53:29
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