Rodrigo Cotelo – Ser Sonido

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The words of the title of this album, Ser Sonido are difficult to render in to English—just like many words and phrases in the Latin and Romance languages. The main protagonist in this album, Rodrigo Cotelo has made an attempt to translate this title as “Being Sound”.

“Becoming Sound” is probably a better way to render this in the language that appears inappropriate to even translate many terms from those languages. For Mr. Cotelo intends the concept of this record to be in a state of being where the musician becomes the music, or at least where the musician is a veritable channel for the music. This is not a new concept actually; it does not have to be. Throughout the history of music there are musicians who have attained that state. The Gnawas of Morocco—musicians such as Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, Yassir Chadly—and the Master Musicians of Jajouka—such as Bechir Attar—are exquisite examples of residing in that rarefied state of mind when they play music. So did Charlie “Bird” Parker and Charles Mingus also suggested: that he attained that status through much of his music. However, the question here is not that Mr. Cotelo falls short of that state of being. Rather it is that he not only rises to that ambient state but, also coaxes delightful improvisations from his accompanying musicians.

Rodrigo Cotelo is also an excellent guitarist. The Uruguayan musician is technically proficient, whether he plays electric or acoustic guitar. He plays in a somewhat self-effacing manner and is almost spectral in the manner of his playing. Moreover his notes are like slender beings that reside in a spectral dimension. His phrases often appear to become dramatic inversions of his melodic inventions, which are, at any rate, quite singularly novel already. And his playing is so fluid and, leaping from plane to plane, he is like a fleet-footed deer. Sometimes his expression and dynamic is a tad heavy, but this is only to suggest moods that are fraught with denser feelings and emotions, such as he does on “Esencia Mia”. Mr. Cotelo has, moreover, surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians. His bassists, especially: men such as Álvaro Pacello and Andrés Pigatto as well as Marco Messina—as evidenced on “Pa’ Ti,” “Esencia Mia” and “Interludio para Egberto”. The brass and woodwinds also seem lost in the diaphanous flow of the music and the pianists are not simply incidental characters in the musical sojourn, but actively participate in the musical experiment.

The results are quite wonderful. Ramiro Flores is masterful on “Y se vino la Noche…” and his dancing melodic expedition weaves into Mr. Cotelo’s one on guitar like musical DNA, heaving and turning; pirouetting in the manner of a double-helix. The pianism of Fernando Nathan and Rodrigo G Pahlen also smoothly interweave into the melody of the songs where they are featured. And Ignacio Labrada is sensational on “Candombe Fuerte” as is Mr. Cotelo himself. The percussionists on this record are so self-effacing that they appear in subtle waves lapping in the ocean of music that is created by the rest of the musicians. This is wonderfully evidenced on “Sarita,” an elegiac musical portrait that also features some wonderful electric guitar with notes so plump that the music unfolds like a woman undressing in a sensuous manner, while the voice of Luis Ravizza serenades the character in the song.

So does the music fit the state of being? For the most part this is true. It also bodes well for Rodrigo Cotelo who seems destined for greater things that will evolve out of this project before long.

Track Listing: Pa’ Ti; Esencia Mía; El Alma Blanca del Lago I; Y se vino la Noche…; Oportuno; Interludio para Egberto; Del Alma; El Alma Blanca del Lago II; Candombe Fuerte; Sarita.

Personnel: Alvaro Pacello: 8-string bass (4, 10); Andrés Pigatto: contrabass (3, 5, 6, 7); Fernando Nathan: piano (6); Gastón Ackerman: flugelhorn (3, 8); Ignacio Labrada: piano (1, 5, 9); Juan Canosa: trombone (5); Leo Varga: additional effects, chimes (1, 2, 4, 6, 9 10); Luis Ravizza: voice (4, 10), melodica (10); Marco Messina: electric bass (1, 2, 4, 9); Martín Berloto: electric guitar {solo} (2); Martín Cruz: drums (2, 7); Martín Gaviglio: percussion (1, 8); Martín Ibarburu: drums (1, 5, 9); Mauricio Trobo: synthesizer (1, 2, 9), piano (2); Nicolás Galván: percussion (1, 4, 5, 9); Ramiro Flores: soprano and alto saxophones (1, 4, 5, 7); Rhodes (4): Rodrigo G Pahlen: piano (7); Sergio Wagner: trumpet (5); Rodrigo Cotelo: electric guitars, acoustic guitars, MIDI guitar, finger cymbals, afoxé, quijada.

Rodrigo Cotelo on the web: www.rodrigocotelo.com

Label: MT | Release date: February 2013

Reviewed by: Raul da Gama