In the sonic scheme of things – not to get too wrapped up in similarities and differences between the sound of El Barrio and the music of the Bay Area on the West Coast – there is a viscerally energetic aura about the repertoire on Chris Trinidad y Con Todo. It’s not hard to see why. The bassist’s group comprises some of the most indefatigable musicians who haunt the clubs and recording studios of the San Francisco Bay Area. Great names such as trombonists Jeff Cressman and Jamie Dubberley, conguero Carlos Caro and, of course, the celebrated voice of Christelle Durandy and the inimitable pianism of Christian Tumalan have made this musical brotherhood come alive in a thunderous manner. The glue of it all is the young bassist with a rather percussive bent of mind that gets showcased throughout this music: Chris Trinidad.
Chris Trinidad may give his name to this collective, but the musicians parlay with the familiarity of old friends. Predictably, the results are enormously rewarding. Each and every musician gets under the skin of these compositions by the bassist and leader, performing with a wonderfully flexible sense of timing. Mr Trinidad is at his pizzicato-best throughout but his style is perfectly declared to remarkable effect especially on “La Esencia de la Intención” (how appropriate a title) and floats his exquisitely limpid lines in the graceful contrapuntal manner, allowing them to effortlessly converse with the chatter of the percussionists as well as his pianist and principal musical partner, Christian Tumalan.
The pianist is remarkably sensitive to the music, bringing his superb virtuosity and dynamic expression to all of the music here. Horns – played by a powerful section including Mr Cressman, Mr Dubberley, Bill Ortiz, Tony Peebles and Tod Dickow – are delightfully velvety and are played with lucid intonation bringing a huge range of colours when called upon to play. Violinist Anthony Blea is an inspired addition to the music and makes his presence felt on three songs including “Tigres Blancos y Elefantes Grises” where he is warmly spontaneous, unleashing his virtuosity ardently.
But it must be stressed how much respect the relatively young voice of Chris Trinidad commands. His traversal of this music is memorable for his supple rhythmic flexibility. His bass playing is big-boned and generous, with a sense of depth and spaciousness that gives the music an almost architectural sense of scale. At the same time it is important to note that while powerful, the bass notes are lovingly delivered creating a glistening delicacy as a foil to the melody and harmony.
Track list – 1: Luna Nueva en Mi Mente; 2: Ojos Abiertos; 3: Tigres Blancos y Elefantes Grises; 4: Llegando a la Razón; 5: La Esencia de la Intención; 6: Principios de la Causalidad; 7: Hasta Entonces, Mi Amigo; 8: Espíritu del Antiguo Sol
Personnel – Chris Trinidad: bass guitar; Christian Tumalan: piano; Carlos Caro: congas, bongo, güiro and chekere; Colin Douglas: timbal kit, clave and bells; Bill Ortiz: trumpet (1, 4, 6 – 8); Jeff Cressman: trombone (1, 6 – 8); Jamie Dubberley: trombone (2 – 5); Tony Peebles: tenor saxophone (3, 6); Anthony Blea: violin (2, 3, 5); Tod Dickow: flute (2 – 5); Juan Luis Perez: voice (1, 5, 8); Christelle Durandy: voice (1, 5, 8)
Released – 2019
Label – Iridium Records (IRK 2019 01)
Runtime – 38:24