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Israel Tanenbaum & The Latinbaum Jazz Ensemble: Impressions

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Israel Tanenbaum
Pianist, Composer, Arranger Israel Tanenbaum

On his maiden voyage as a bandleader, playing wonderful repertoire [all] written and arranged by himself, Israel Tanenbaum has emerged as a consummate storyteller. It’s no wonder; the composer and pianist has spent decades writing music for film [large and small screen], theatre and even advertising jingles and video games. Anyone with even a modicum of success in each of the formats becomes a sonic storyteller who weaves in and out of narratives and – in the case of jingles and video games – must master a form that demands a whole story fit into an extraordinarily short span of time from introduction to dénouement – sub-plots and all. On his debut album Impressions, with The Latinbaum Jazz Ensemble, Mr Tanenbaum not only shows why he has been so much in-demand over scores of projects, but just how he wields his craftsmanship into a singular artform.

On paper many musicians who have learned to write can create wondrous musical works – songs in the rhythm dance forms [the cha-cha-chá, for instance], but few can give the song and dance wing in a narrative that literally takes flight [Prime Flight], or can take a simple danzón and make it an elegiac ‘till we meet again’ fadeout to end the album with a melody in which notes lift off the page and pirouette gracefully in the air, while harmonies create a smoky fragrance that all-but fills the air in which the lines dance in arcs and parabolas, as Mr Tanenbaum does with Vaya.

Israel Tanenbaum & The Latinbaum Jazz Ensemble: Impressions
Israel Tanenbaum & The Latinbaum Jazz Ensemble: Impressions

In between all of this is music that ebbs and flows, jumps, and breaks like cinematic, oceanic waves beating upon a proverbial shore. All the while the musicians navigate the music idiomatically as they introduce us to stories and the characters that bring them to life in a songbook created by the uncommon expertise of a composer and musician who certainly knows how to make music into a celluloid experience. The three vocalists – Diana Serna, Gustavo Rodriguez, and Daniel Silva – add dreamy, atmospheric vocalise on Strange Destiny, which, in a way, sets this up for the uncommonly eloquent music to follow.

Moreover, this music unravels is if by the magic a painterly canvas. Tone-textures melt into elegance as if the movie is made of a series of [painterly] episodes dripping down an imaginary canvas; musical notes melting on staved paper as melodies and harmonies melt into one another. Only, the brushes in this instance, are the horns – trumpets, a flugelhorn, and trombones, flutes and saxophones coming together in whimsical scherzos – such as in Hot Bridge and [especially in] Prelude, and delightfully boisterous Afro-Cuban descargas such as on Mambo Raro and on Steamy Patricia.

I would be remiss if I did not sing praises for how wonderfully Afro-Caribbean percussion is used. Time and virtuosity seem inseparable – not only in the work of Roberto Quintero and Richie Flores, but also on instruments not known to be given solo roles to play at all – such as the güiro, played by Mr Quintero as well as Luis Pacheco. Flutists Andrea Brachfeld and Oriente López rub celebrity shoulders with the redoubtable Jonathan Powell, Felipe Lamoglia – to name just a few. The drumming – by Francis Benítez and Tony Escapa. Meanwhile pallet percussionists Daniel Neville and Cristos Rafalides create radiant whorls of music, alternating on vibraphones. John Benítez literally [and figuratively] towers above all – and is – with Mr Tanenbaum – the chief architect of this masterful rhythmically intricate musical edifice.

Deo gratis…

YouTube Playlist – Israel Tanenbaum: Impressions

Music – 1: Strange Destiny; 2: Hot Bridge; 3: Prime Flight; 4: Another Life; 5: Mambo Raro; 6: Cuando te Asomas; 7: Prelude; 8: Steamy Patricia; 9: Vaya.

Musicians –Israel Tanenbaum: piano, keyboards and synthensizer; Tanenbaum Jazz Ensemble – John Benítez: bass and contrabass; Richie Flores: congasand bongos [2, 3, 5, 7]; Roberto Quintero: congas [8, 9], bongo [6, 8] and güiro [3, 6, 9]; Joel “Pibo” Marquez: congas [1]; Luis Pacheco: bongos [1] and güiro [5]; Jessy “Timbalón” Pérez: bongos [9];  [1 – 6]; Roberto Piñeiro Jr: campana [5]; Wilson Viveros: timbales [1}; Tito De Gracia: timbales [2-9]; Tony Escapa: drums [3,7,9]; Francis Benítez: drums [2, 6]; Oriente López: flute [2, 3, 6, 7, 9]; Andrea Brachfeld: flute [8]; Jonathan Powell: trumpet [2, 3, 6, 7, 9] and flugelhorn [8]; Orlando “Batanga” Berrera: trumpet [1]; Felipe Lamoglia: tenor saxophone [2, 3, 6, 7, 9]; Julio Flores: alto and soprano saxophones [1, 5]; Angel Subero: trombone [2, 3, 6, 7]; Willie Álvarez: trombone [5]; Xito Lovell: trombone [6, 9]; Edilberto Liévano: trombone [1, 5]; Daniel Neville: vibraphone [3, 5, 6]; Cristos Rafalides: vibraphone [2, 7, 8]; Diana Serna: background vocals [1]; Gustavo Rodríguez: background vocals [1]; Daniel Silva: background vocals [1].

Released – 2023
Label – ZOHO Music [202 304]
Runtime – 49:16

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Reds

    Jun 1, 2023 at 10:50 am

    Very nice!! All those years of experience show up here!! Fantastic!!

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