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Laura Fernandez – Un Solo Beso (Self Published – 2011)

There is a certain fire that burns with a quietude that, although atypical of the Latin soul, still contains much of the passion that is contained in it. In fact the passion is so contained that the fire actually soars with its very chill. The music of Laura Fernandez “burns” with this cold fire. Much of Miles Davis’ music was “hot” in that sense (that) it burned with a similar quiet fire. Conventional wisdom dictates that Latin music is not meant to be cool but fiery and hot […]

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There is a certain fire that burns with a quietude that, although atypical of the Latin soul, still contains much of the passion that is contained in it. In fact the passion is so contained that the fire actually soars with its very chill. The music of Laura Fernandez “burns” with this cold fire. Much of Miles Davis’ music was “hot” in that sense (that) it burned with a similar quiet fire. Conventional wisdom dictates that Latin music is not meant to be cool but fiery and hot. Still, when music such as that written by an artist such as Fernandez is performed it is still brimful of passion, grace and a cool fire

Laura Fernandez shows, with her albumUn Solo Beso that she is a maturing artist with a fine sense of song form and the poetic image. Being equipped with this artistic intuition she is able to write with a remarkable sense of nuance. Writing about relationships; their growth, maturation and also their decline requires a keen grip of the fine sense of listening to and interpreting emotions as well as reacting to them. Fernandez does all of these things. She then produces songs reflect the narrative of live well lived and felt deeply as if from every pore of the body. Fernandez also imbues these songs with exquisite melody, harmony and a rhythm that beats so close to the human heart that her music is ultimately felt deep within the soul.

Fernandez is unlike most singers. She sings with well-rounded intonation and her pronunciation is impeccable. Moreover her phrasing, especially on tracks such as “A Mi Padre” and “Que Mas Quieres de Mi” is beautifully executed amid expression that is at times aching and bleeding and at other times soaring with joy. This is a sure sign of her individualism and artistry. The fact that she makes the words mean everything they are meant to be and inhabit the emotion of the moment is a sign of how much she lives the songs she writes and sings.

The other remarkable aspect of Fernandez’s music is their beauty of form. She seems to understand the fleeting nature of feelings, tends not to dwell on them too much—which often leads to draining too much out of the emotion. Instead she turns her songs into almost epigrammatic poetic expressions. She also has a gifted feel for melody and surprises with how little she repeats herself as most relatively new songwriters do. Much of her music sound inspired and fresh. The album Un Solo Beso is also richly produced with fine accompaniment from trumpeter Alexis Baró, alto saxophonist Luis Deniz, pianist, Hilario Durán and especially from the hugely talented musician, guitarist and vocalist, Luis Mario Ochoa. A record like this can only whet the appetite for more from an emerging artist such as Laura Fernandez.

Track Listing:

1. Mi Amor
2. Un Solo Beso
3. Junto a Ti
4. A Mi Padre
5. Que Mas Quieres de Mi
6. Inolvidable
7. I Believe in Love
8. Que Linda es La Noche
9. Red Red Bird
10. La Barca

Personnel:

Laura Fernandez: vocals, keyboards (7); Noah Zacharin: guitar (1, 4); Elmer Ferrer: guitar (1, 3, 4, 6, 7 – 9); Luis Mario Ochoa: guitar (1, 5, 10); Duncan Hopkins: bass (1, 5); Paco Luviano: bass (2, 6); Roberto Riverón (9); Yoser Rodríguez: bass (3, 4, 7, 8); Glenda Del Monte Escalante: keyboards (1, 4, 7); Hilario Durán: piano (1, 2, 5, 6, 10); Roberto Linares Brown: keyboards (1, 9); Paul DeLong: drums (1); Rosendo “Chendy” Leon Jr.: drums (5, 8), percussion (9); Frank Durand: drums (2, 6); Shamakah Ali: drums (7); Joaquín Hidalgo: percussion (1, 5, 6); Jalidan Ruiz: percussion (1, 5); Jorge Luis “Papiosco” Torres: percussion (3, 8); Alexis Baró: trumpet (1, 2, 6); Luis Deniz: alto saxophone (2, 6, 7); Jeff King: tenor saxophone (6); Juan Diego De Sedas: accordion (9); Alberto Alberto: vocals (3, 9); Kevin Stock: vocal (9); Verónica Mesa (3); Raquel Olmes: vocal (3); Roberto Linares Brown: programming (7); Billy Bryans: programming (7).

[audio:http://www.latinjazznet.com/audio/new-cds/11-2011/Laura Fernandez – Inolvidable.mp3|titles=Inolvidable – From the CD “Un Solo Beso”]

Laura Fernandez on the web: www.laurafernandezmusic.com

Review written by: Raul da Gama

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Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

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Roberto Jr. Vizcaino, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot - Photo Nayeli Mejia
Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot - Photo: Nayeli Mejia.

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.

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

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.

Deo gratis…

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 [9]

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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