This is not a tribute to Nat Adderley, but if it were, it would be a better one than any trumpeter has done. As it turns out Charlie Sepúlveda and The Turnaround is paying a heartfelt tribute to his wife, Natalia. Still, the result of such respectful adulation on the part of Mr Sepúlveda for the love of his life might also fare well as a tribute to the other half of the great Cannonball Adderley. This is a fascinating meta-work that creates associations, resonances and new perspectives, not simply between the two composers and trumpeters, but also between the whole relationship between Jazz and Latin Jazz. Moreover, rather than provide a pool of music Mr Sepúlveda and his group re-create the vivid atmosphere of that iconic band with each song, with an ironically entitled curtain-raiser, “Exit”, perhaps even suggesting a handing over of the proverbial torch from one trumpeter to the other – all of which is done without the slightest suggestion of any presumption on the part of Mr Sepúlveda.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Charlie Sepúlveda and The Turnaround: Songs For Nat
Mr Sepúlveda’s “Nat’s Blues” leads the ear to often cherishing motivic snippets, highlighting an arresting harmonic progression, finally recalibrating the terms of discourse between trumpet and tenor saxophone. Meanwhile, elsewhere the softer and gentler balladry is eloquent and provides outstanding examples of Mr Charlie Sepúlveda’s crystalline articulation. Most strikingly the trumpeter draws maximum emotion from songs such as “Natalia” (the “real” tributee of this recording) and “Amelia” on both of which his playing is muscular, exhilaratingly voiced, conceptually lucid, and there is also no finer example of all of these three aspects of his playing than in “Liberty”, which closes off another wonderful album by Charlie Sepúlveda and his now superbly-drilled group The Turnaround.
The relationship between the members of this wonderful ensemble deserves special mention for the fascination attention they bring to the music, also providing imaginative touches to songs such as “Frenesi” (not the classic you may think you know) which contains a variation of slow-moving chords of elliptical harmony. This is a remarkable piece of music also defined here by texture and sonority – and a set of unusual variations over the ostinato ground which adds a cushioned touch to the classic song. It is indeed always impressive to listen to musicians play with such a softness and purity, always attentive to even the smallest detail even in the strongest outbursts, in all of which they never break the intensity of atmosphere.
Track list – 1: Exit 4; 2: My Dear One; 3: Estampas; 4: Nat’s Blues; 5: Frenesi; 6: Natalia; 7: 402b Blues; 8: Amelia; 9: Liberty
Personnel – Charlie Sepúlveda: trumpet; Norberto Ortiz: tenor saxophone; Gabriel Rodriguez: bass; Francisco Alcala: drums; Gadwin Vargas: congas; Bienvenido Dinzey: piano, Hammond B3 organ (4)
Released – 2018
Label – HighNote Records (HCD 7316)
Runtime – 1:02:18