Marco Diaz acquitted himself exceedingly well as John Santos’ pianist. On Life Notes Mr. Diaz has written a suite of songs that serve to trace his imaginary and real voyage. With music of such a high standard it is hard not to resist following the trail left by Life Notes. Marco Diaz uses various forms to express what he calls moments in time spent with family and friends whom he likes to share time with. Two of these are bassist Saul Sierra and the percussionist Carlos Caro. Having worked rather extensively with these two musicians it is no wonder that the two make remarkable contributions to Mr. Diaz’s recording as a leader. Mr. Sierra is another charter member of Mr. Santos’ Machete Ensemble, a wonderful timekeeper and also a melodic player who makes strong harmonic contributions to this ensemble. Mr. Caro is more difficult to pin down. He plays various percussion instruments that enable him to provide exquisite colour to the music and he is a wonderful conga player indeed, who excels in the descarga, “Por Siempre El Timbal” and who surely might soon become better known that he is today.
However this is Marco Diaz’s musical palimpsest and music be looked upon as such. First off it bears mention that Mr. Diaz is a seriously beautiful pianist with a killer tumbao to boot. It is clear that he takes this seriously as might be seen in his brief solos and in the two descargas on this album: “Sentimiento Piano Y Tambor” and “Por Siempre El Timbal”—both are excellent vehicles for his pianism that is seen to be clever and sophisticated. Mr. Diaz is not a stilted player and uses his flexibility to great effect especially on the samba “Passos Brasileiros”. But the spotlight really begins to shine on the graceful Afro-Peruvian chart “Gracias Maestro,” a song that is played in homage to all of those masters from whom Mr. Diaz learnt and who inspired him through the years, and the beautiful, ethereal and elegiac “Waiting For You” and “Por Siempre El Timbal”. There is also the fact that Marco Diaz is a gifted composer and shows here that he is capable of writing for somewhat larger ensembles. This in itself is going to bode extremely well for the future of this remarkable musician.
There are some exquisite performances and this list is headed by the violinist, Anthony Blea, who graces the recording with his presence on “Sentimiento Piano Y Tambor”. Then there are the superb performances of the percussionists. Carlos Caro has already been spoken of, but there are also the performances of Orestes Vilató, Louie Romero and John Santos on that exciting descarga, “Por Siempre El Timbal.” There is a breathtaking performance on flute by John Calloway that calls to mind all of the fine performances on John Santos’ Machete Ensemble. However the finest performance surely comes from the pianist and he makes his mark in the profoundly beautiful ballad, “Waiting For You.” All of this certainly begs the question: When is the next Marco Diaz album coming out?
Track List: Sentimiento Piano Y Tambor; Un, Dos, Ahh; Son Moderno; Passos Brasileiros; Gracias Maestros; Por Siempre El Timbal; Willing; Waiting For You.
Personnel: Julio Pérez: bongo (1, 3, 6), guiro (3, 6); Julio Areas: timbales (1), coro (6); Javier Navarette: congas (1); Anthony Blea: violin (1); Carlos Caro: guiro (1), timbal (3 6), coro (3), congas (6); Saul Sierra: bass (1, 2, 4, 6); Raul Navarette: trombone (1, 3, 6); John Santos: congas (2, 6), guiro (2), percussion (4, 7), coro (6); Melecio Magdaluyo: saxophones (2, 3); Miguel Martinez: flutes (2); David Flores: drumset (3, 4); John Calloway: flute (3); Edgardo Gambón: cajón (5), maracas (5); Orestes Vilató: timbal (6); Louie Romero: timbal (6); Ben Krames: drumset (7); David Belove: bass (7); Damien Masterson: harmonica (7); Camilo Landau: guitar (7); Marco Diaz: piano (1 – 6, 8), trumpet (1 – 3, 6, 7), keyboards (7).
Label: Marco Diaz Music | Release date: April 2014
About Marco Diaz
Marco Diaz was born and raised in San Francisco and was introduced to the trumpet in the fourth grade at E.R. Taylor Elementary School. His formal training in both piano and trumpet began at the age of 14. He earned a scholarship from the Community Music Center in San Francisco, and began playing professionally at the age of 17 throughout the Bay Area with various Latin Jazz, Salsa, Reggae, and R&B bands. Upon graduating from high school, he continued his studies at San Francisco State University pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Popular Music and a minor in Economics. Read more…