In Peru, Eric Kurimski observes in the notes of his journey to Lima, the concept of time loosely exists. What a remarkable observation by the musician who became besotted with Peruvian music so much so that he traveled to the small South American country to become one of its most extraordinary exponents. This recording, Replica, the debut for Eric Kurimski, is a seminal document of the music of Peru. It is unlike the scores of folkloric recordings made in South America, by a world that has come under the bewitching spell of Latin American music. Here an artist, an important guitar maestro has participated directly in the creation of Afro-Peruvian music. It is a case of cultures colliding – jazz and Afro-Peruvian – to bring new musical creations to life.
Kurimski is a guitarist par excellence. He has adapted a principally classical technique to the stringed instrument, enabling it to sing with both jazz and Spanish inflections. The technique is pizzicato, but the notes are often bent offering sudden and subtle glissandos. This makes the instrument a willing participant in the making of landos and festejos and valses. In choosing these forms Kurimski brings an important aspect of Afro-Peruvian music into focus and that is its inextricable link to the blues context of jazz.
In exquisite fashion, he turns John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” into a joyful lando. The irony should not be lost as the lando featured interior rhythms (forbidden by the Colonial Spanish) and once signified a complete freedom from slavery. “Giant Steps”? How much more significant can the title now be?
More extensively, this record features a fine interplay between guitar and the arch instrument of Peru, the Cajon. Juan Medrano Cotito is one of those little-known maestros of the instrument. His style is bold and he issues a rapid battery of slaps – both with flat and variously cupped palms to berate the box with such an array of tones and pitches that the rhythm is multiplied with a bountiful cornucopia of echoes and resonant vibrations unlike percussion rarely experienced in jazz. This is completely new music where modern compositions such as “Hope For Spring” rub noisily together with “Ronca Canalete” and “Toro Mata”. “Desesperacion,” “Yo No Como Camote” and the unforgettable “Despertar,” by the celebrated Afro-Peruvian master, Carlos Hayre, make this one of the most ground-breaking records of 2008 – one where Afro-Peruvian music meets jazz in a spell-binding collision of artistic cultures.
Tracks: Hope for Spring; New York Titlan; Ronca Canalete; Giant Steps; Yo No Como Camote; Toto Mata; Desesperacion; Despertar.
Personnel: Eric Kurimski: guitar; Juan Medrano Cotito; cajon, percussion, guapeo (3, 6); Carlos Hayre: guitar/electric bass (7); Edward Perez: bass (1, 4, 5, 8); Sergio Veldeos: guitar (1, 5, 8); Yuri Juarez: guitar (2, 4); Noel Marambio: bass (4); Joscha Oetz: bass (3, 6); Charo Goyoneche: vocals (3, 6); Carlos Medrano: cajita/coros (3, 6).
Review written by: Raul da Gama