There is a visceral energy that courses through the primeval gut of Hamlet Fiorilli Müller’s record Pa ’lante… Siguiendo el Camino. This is largely due to the unfettered vitality of the horns and the percussion of his band, The Latin Jazz Experience. Of course, there is also Mr. Fiorilli Müller’s own musical dynamism and that of his bassist, who seems to not only egg him on, but also push the percussionists to their limit and beyond. Latin American music requires a special kind of wildfire that is spread by a burning trumpet and the horn of Darko Sedak Bencic is alight with a roaring blue flame here. Even when he plays the much softer flugelhorn, Mr. Bencic is all over the instrument with such force that the mellow tones and textures come alive with a certain animism that adds something truly special to the music on this album. There is also a joyousness to the music that is a direct result of the folkloric content that Mr. Fiorilli Müller melds into the idiom of jazz. The pianist has a Colombian musical background—having been born in Bogotá—before he made the continent of Europe an itinerant home.
The pirouetting cadences of “Baila Mamá” are a direct result of the dramatic infusion of thick Colombian Cumbia textures and rhythms. Mr. Fiorilli Müller leads this exquisite folkloric chart and he is quickly followed by the percussionists and the jubilant vocals of Ives Claure. His title tune, “Siguiendo Pa ’lante” also shows the composer to have a flair for written melody—in addition to his virtuoso pianism, which is marvellously rhythmic. This is also one of those charts where the horns step up to the plate. There is a wonderful solo by trumpeter Massimo Greco and a delightfully intricate tenor saxophone solo by Lukas Gabric, whose Florentine lines swathe the onrush of Mr. Fiorilli Müller’s piano solo that follows it. The music of Colombia—Cumbia, Porro, Vallenato, Champeta and the music of the African Diaspora—nestle cheek-by-jowl with swinging jazz idioms. Mr. Fiorilli Müller appears to be a master-weaver when it comes to the fabric of music and he uses this approach to create a wondrous musical fabric that comprises a myriad of rhythms and textures in his music. “Siguiendo Pa ’lante” and “La Jorikamba” are outstanding examples of this masterly presence in his oeuvre. There is also the blending of vocals with instrumental soli. This is something that requires maturity and sophistication and Hamlet Fiorilli Müller has a surfeit of both.
Perhaps Mr. Fiorilli Müller may explore the area of vocal music with his succeeding albums. The musician seems poised to enter the Colombian musical territory with more complex use of the folkloric musical idioms. The pianist seems to have already taken a leap of faith from his earlier album, Descarumbiando. There is also the fact that Mr. Fiorilli Müller seems entirely capable of extended compositions. On this record, Pa ’lante… Siguiendo el Camino he has crafted a three-part suite that beautifully blends instrumental music with choral music. The exquisite development of the tripartite suite “Misa Callejera” is based on a wistful melodic phrase that is developed in intensity and complexity with the four-part harmonies created by the Audio Quattro choir that soars as the suite moves from part I to the II and III parts.
Mr. Fiorilli Müller also makes interesting use of his synthesizers developing a kind of vocal sound that adds dramatic textures to the vocals already beautifully decorated by their own harmonies. This is quite something as the synthesizer is often maligned because of the useless nature of its deployment in many contemporary ensembles. However it is artists such as Lyle Mays, Ralph Towner and now Hamlet Fiorilli Müller who bring a new kind of respectability to this instrument so essential to modern ensembles. Then there is also the matter of Mr. Fiorilli Müller’s pianism, which gets ignored when the focus is on his musicianship. A hearing of “Agape” should be a strong reminder of his skill with expression and dynamic as well as overall virtuosity. With all of this going for it Pa ’lante… Siguiendo el Camino is sure to be an enduring work as well as a stepping stone for Hamlet Fiorilli Müller’s development as an artist as he transitions onto bigger and more complex music in the years to come.
Track Listing: Misa Callejera, Pt. I; Siguiendo Pa ’lante; Baila Mamá; Misa Callejera, Pt. II; El Cairo; Agape; Misa Callejera, Pt. III; La Jorikamba; Kibeho; Chili Con Cha Cha; La Reina Del Carnaval.
Personnel: Hamlet Fiorilli Müller: piano, synthesisers, vocals; Ante Jurinovic: electric bass; Wolfgang Tozzi: drums, percussion; Alberto Lovison: congas, percussion; Niccolo Loro Ravenni: tenor and baritone saxophones; Darko Sedak Bencic: trumpet and flugelhorn; Massimo Greco: trumpet (2, 9); Lukas Gabric: tenor saxophone (2); Marco Antonio da Costa: guitar (10); Ives Claure: vocals (1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 ); Victor Fiorilli: electric bass (11); Miguel Angel Linaris: vocals (11); Bellada István: trombone (11); Audio Quattro: Christian Gebhard: vocals (1, 4, 7), Max Marginter: vocals (1, 4, 7), Joachim Zmöling: vocals (1, 4, 7), Mario Rupp: vocals (1, 4, 7).
Label: Freiaudio Records | Release date: August 2013
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Listening to the music of Siempre Más Allá, it certainly seems that the young French pianist, Adrien Brandeis has strengthened the belief that he is a proverbial citizen of the Afro-Caribbean universe. To be clear Mr Brandeis still loves all music and swings as hard as any pianist who loves Black American Music – that is, music that you can sing and dance to. But also continues to be beguiled by the rolling thunder of Afro-Caribbean music. The wild call of the rhythms and the joie de vivre of the questing melodies and harmonies not only appeal to his ear, but also speak to him in the hidden parts of his heart.
By his own admission Siempre Más Allá took root during three tours to Mexico undertaken under the aegis of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises du Mexique. The virtually all-Afro-Cuban repertoire of the album radiates charm at every turn. These disarmingly natural and eloquent performances bring out the music’s inherent drama and penchant for tumbao with a deft touch while indulging Brandeis’ lyrical instincts to the full. Meticulously balanced, the four quartet pieces, the trio and duo pieces feel as if they are chamber works. Brandeis’ astonishingly insightful playing is musically captivating and technically blemishless. Each phrase rings so completely true that one can’t imagine the music played any other way.
The album features Mr Brandeis and a group of very accomplished musicians. These include the celebrated Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot [on two tracks] and his son Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Mexican drummer José Loria Triay make up the wall of percussion. The Brasilian bassist Giliard Lopes brings his distinctive veritas to the whole rhythm section. The big surprise here is, perhaps, the presence of the great Cuban Horacio “El Negro” Hernández sitting in the drum chair on La buena vibra.
Siempre Más Allá is an affirmation of Brandeis’ enduring love and natural affinity for Latin music. Not surprisingly the music seems to echo the famous Latin American phrase: “¡Que rico bailo yo!” [which, in English, exclaims: “How well I dance!”]. This is no hyperbole as the music – in its pulses and rhythms show as Brandeis traverses the rhythmic topography of the Caribbean and Latin America. Along the way Brandeis plunged into the world of changüí, the chacarera, Brasilian gaucho music and the ancient melodic thunder of bàtá drums.
From the get-go listeners will find themselves immersed in quite another world of rippling percussive grooves. The track Ek Bakam, for instance, conjures the intricate architecture; the line and flow of an epic Mayan civilisation located in the Yucatan. Narratives from the Latin world abound – often paying homage to famous traditional musicians. Pancho’s Power is one such chart inspired by the vivid world of the legendary trio Los Panchos. Brandeis gives his percussion section a lot of space when he puts the spotlight on them on Tierra de Oportunidades – a wistful memory of the pianist’s three tours to Mexico, which is also incidentally the popular provincial slogan of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. On Huachi-Huachi Brandeis digs deep into the epicurean delights of the only Latin country in North America with this song in praise of a kind of gourmet Mexican fish: the huachinango.
Brandeis then celebrates his association with percussion colourist Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. with the extraordinary music of Vizcaíno Blues, a piece unique with its exploratory chromaticisms and elegant sonorities that beautifully capture the eloquence of the percussionist in whose praise the music is written. Mindful of the fact that Vizcaíno is Cuban but makes his home in Mexico, Brandeis shapes the rhythmic and harmonic palette of the piece accordingly. On La Buena Vibra Brandeis delivers astonishing pianistic fireworks in the piece’s melodic and harmonic lines, played at a frenetic pace, to mirror the style of its dedicatee, Michel Camilo. The pianist demonstrates an authentic home-grown grasp of Cuban music as he reimages Voy a Apagar la Luz, by the legendary and late-singer Armando Manzanero, here adapted as a wistful solo piano work. Meanwhile on the dizzying ride of Humpty Dumpty the pianist pays homage to another idol: Chick Corea, by revisiting the sparkling composition of the recently-deceased piano maestro.
It is hard not to be mesmerised by this spirited and finely nuanced music artfully crafted in an album by Adrien Brandeis, a pianist who is about to take the world by storm with a recording that is going to be one of the finest by any musician located outside the Latin American sub-continent.
Tracks – 1: Huachi Huachi; 2: Alegría; 3: Pancho’s Power; 4: Ek balam; 5: Un peu d’espoir; 6: Vizcaíno’s Blues; 7: Tierra de oportunidades; 8: Humpty Dumpty; 9: La buena vibra; 10: Voy a apagar la luz
Musicians – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Giliard Lopes: contrabass; José Loria Triay: drums; Roberto Vizcaíno Jr: congas and bàtá drums. Featuring – Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot: percussion [1, 6]; Horacio “El Negro” Hernández: drums 
Released – 2022
Label – Mantodea Music Productions
Runtime – 58:25
YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)
YouTube Audio – Adrien Brandeis – Vizcaíno’s Blues
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