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Jonathan Suazo: Extracts of a Desire

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Jonathan Suazo
Puerto Rican Saxophonist Jonathan Suazo

Extracts of a Desire, co-produced by Miguel Zenón and dedicated to his father Ramón A. Suazo, who died in 2012, certainly does not sound like a debut album. A strong command of the jazz language, limitless imagination on his improvisations, intensity in both emotion and technique, all this and more can be found in Jonathan Suazo debut CD Extracts of a Desire. Suazo, a young alto sax player from Puerto Rico, shows in his first album a maturity well beyond his years. No doubt there are some influences in Suazo’s playing from another great altoist, Miguel Zenón, especially in the extraordinaire version of Cole Porter “What is this thing called love” (featuring percussionist Paoli Mejías). But for sure, Suazo has a voice of his own, that sometimes echoes the sound and soulful style of tenor master John Coltrane.

The release starts with Pace of Life, featuring Paoli Mejías, a piece with creative tempo changes and passionate playing by Jonathan Suazo and energetic percussion by Paoli Mejías. The Coltrane similarities are more obvious here. Suazo plays with the same passion, cohesiveness and almost spiritual energy, reminiscent on this track to Coltrane masterpiece A Love Supreme.

Jonathan Suazo: Extracts of a Desire
Jonathan Suazo: Extracts of a Desire

Suazo displays the same energy but with a more introspective feel in Forgive Me. Suazo limitless imagination and infinite bag of improvisational ideas can be fully appreciated on this track. Alex Gasser adds a powerful bass improvisation and his rhythmic command can be heard all throughout the album.

Some Free Jazz a la Ornette Coleman can be heard in Un futuro inevitable, another interesting piece, full of twists and turns. Gabriel Vicéns on guitar is highlighted on this track, harmonizing with Suazo. The track ends with some outstanding bass, guitar and sax exchanges over Bienvenido Dinzey‘s harmonies on piano. La ira de una flor, featuring Amarilys Rios on the barriles de bomba, is a composition in three movements, I-Nacer II-Furia III-Reposo y Regreso. It starts as a bolero, where Suazo proves he can play with the same feeling, sharpness and cutting edge brilliance in either slow or fast pieces. The second movement has a more traditional Jazz feel and ends with Suazo displaying his amazing tone and technique in yet another intense and flawless solo. The track returns to a bolero tempo in the last movement, ending with bomba rhythms.

Lucharemos juntos is a heartfelt, beautiful and dramatic composition dedicated to Suazo’s father. Fifteen minutes of pure energy and feeling that feels like a hymn in honor of his father.

Closing the album in a happy, festive note, The joy of you is a samba that features the beautiful voice of Tanicha López and Jhan Lee Aponteporo on timbales. If Jonathan Suazo is the future of jazz in Puerto Rico, that future certainly looks bright.

Music – Pace of Life, Forgive me, Un Futuro Inevitable, La Ira de una Flor, What is this thing called love, Lucharemos Juntos, The Joy of you.

Musicians – Jonathan Suazo – alto saxophone, Gabriel Vicéns – guitar, Leonardo Osuna – drums, Bienvenido Dinzey – piano, Alex Gasser – bass, Paoli Mejías – percussion, djembe drum, batá drums, Amarilys Rios – barril de bomba, Jhan Lee Aponteporo – congas, barril de bomba, timbal, surdos, Tanicha López – vocals.

Released – 2012
Label – Self-Released
Runtime – 52:25

Member of the Jazz Journalist Association since 2010. Member of the Ponce International Jazz Festival Commitee. Studied music and guitar, 1985-86. Music studies at the University of Puerto Rico and the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, 1986-1990.

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