Hidden in the spectacular music of bassist Marcelo Cordóva, pianist Lautaro Quevedo and drummer Carlos Cortés or Simetrío as the stellar group is known is the spectral nature of the great trio of Bill Evans with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian.
But there is something else: a trio voice as singular as can be, born of the rhythmic elegance and hypnotic quietude “zamacueca” colliding with the intricacies of “la nueva Canción Chilena” melded into the joyful freedom of the jazz idiom. For no one can take anything away from these three musicians who dig deep into their individual souls to create music of such rarefied beauty as stop the breath so as to focus—in tone and texture—on the spectral beating of the secret heart.
It is forever a mystery how the trill of a glissando played pianissimo or fortissimo can nestle cheek by jowl with the rapid rattle and smash and drum and cymbal and the throaty rumble of the contrabass, but it remains an elemental thing of beauty in the music of Simetrío. The glacial sophistication and resonant beauty of a finely tuned piano in the hands of Quevedo and the riveting growl of animal gut or Spirocore vibrating with graceful subtlety on the burnished wood of Cordóva’s bass is offset against the eternal pulsations of Cortés’ array of melodically tuned drums make what Duke Ellington once called such sweet thunder. Quevedo plays with unbridled virtuosity, but his extraordinary power of expression and complex metaphor makes him a pianistic poet. His use of deep sound as he depresses the hard and soft pedal creates a sense of spatial grandeur within which he is able to play notes with varying degrees of force. Such is his touch that he seems to control his fingers with superhuman precision. His monumental lines are fluid and he plays these without any form of reticence. Both his hands are equally strong and left follows right as Quevedo architects his soli—sometimes with a sustained and brilliant rush of fluid parabola; and at other times slowly exploring several planes with melodic expansion and harmonic contraction.
The often muted tone of Cordóva’s bass is built into a sinewy elegance that might often expand into a broad reverberation as the bassist manipulates his way through a ferocious harmonic passage, which he plays with a quiet intellect awash with a myriad earthy colours in a range of glorious shades. Cordóva plays in the fulfilling knowledge that he is swathed in the percussive brilliance of Carlos Cortés rim-shots and the fabled construction percussive architecture that cloisters masterful melodic drumming. These two artists make not only fabulous rhythmists, but, rich in musicality, are able to strut and swing their way through a melodic thicket as well. Moreover Cordóva and Cortés provide a masterful harmonic response to Quevedo’s glorious melodies.
There are likely more experienced trios, but few can match this one for sheer passion, grace and fire as they emulate the grand trios of Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. They do, however, bring something else to the table: this would be the spectral folkloric music of their native Chile. This is so deeply ensconced in each of their musical psyches that it makes but a ghostly appearance every now and then, reminding the fan and listener that there is something more to this trio than even Evans’, Bley’s and Jarrett’s at the height of their powers. The experience of these three musicians is so etched in heart and mind and their magnificence is so powerful in performance that they often eclipse their musical ancestors—in technique and eminently expressive virtuosity, born of Chilean folkloric storytelling and mystical fire.
Tracks: Camino; Encuentro; El ataque; Lost waltz; Jazziete; Pasaje en el tiempo; Azul; Toulouse; Converso; Fé de hierro; El faro; Impresión.
Personnel: Marcelo Cordóva: contrabajo; Lautaro Quevedo: piano; Carlos Cortés: batería; Christian Moraga: tumbadores (10); Osvaldo Barrios: programación: (11).
Simetrío – Official Website: www.simetrio.com
Label: Discos Pendiente
Release date: 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama