Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid/C

Carlos Cippelletti celebrates the Cuban part of his gloriously evocative, mixed heritage with great expressive freedom in the magical repertoire on his album, Hybrid/C. The works on this disc feature sublime and frequently blurred tonality and richly hued harmonies in a dramatic collision with rhapsodic atmospheric vocals, and a propulsive rhythmic machine full of flashing colours – all adding up to vivid orchestral evocation of Afro-Cuban music. There can be no doubt that the introductory chant sounds more elegantly spectral and ethereal thanks to the combined efforts of the drummers, together with the dallying echoes of the vocal sound design by David Lorenzo Adkinson, and the raw-silk bellow-and-moan of the bass clarinet of Christian Murgui. What a powerful and affecting way to begin this album…

Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid-C
Carlos Cippelletti: Hybrid-C

The richly expressive and authentic and reverent Afro-Cuban music pierces the listeners’ mind’s mind with two minutes of devotional intensity voiced in Yoruba [no doubt by the bàtá drummer], entitled “Mobuya”. This refers to Moyuba Baba, Moyuba Yeye – and is a praise song for Oshun and Obatala. However, unlike anything you may have heard before, the one on Mr Cippelletti’s album rises amid a fragrant aura, invoking Elegua [Obatala , Odudua tratao, Yeye O aremi , Bembe lere awo – Yoruba chants] with a mystical hint of the ancient “Auld Lang Syne” – together suggestive of new beginnings. The ethereal, atmospheric use of electronics as the setting for the invocation is Mr Cippelletti’s  masterful way of using his musicality to pierce and enter the sacred portal of Elegua.

From there onwards, much of the music is shrouded in the powerful echo of Afro-Cuban bàtá and conga drums – the melodic and rhythmic thunder of elaborate and seductive rhythms that rise to eminence like a moving wall [of rhythm];  the perfect backdrop for the magical melodic and harmonic elements of the music to unfold. Mr Cippelletti rides the wave almost inscrutably at first, as he lets the chants, and later the horns, become the lead voices through “Ilé-Ifé”, “Ebi” and “Iya Mi ilé”. Soon, however, the pianist embarks on a noble introduction to the eloquent bolero “Aite” and he is supported exquisitely by the muted colours of Manuel Machado’s trumpet and the celebrated Bobby Martínez’s winds.

Throughout the recording, of course, the steady rumble of the drums, the congas and the bàtá drums played by Georvis Pico, Erik Larrea [supported by Yuvisney Aguilar], and the might tumbling roar of the contrabass played by the inimitable Reinier Elizarde “El Negrón” make the most glorious music. This is uplifting for Afro-Cuban music and, when combined with Santeria chants, these rhythmic ‘arias’ transform the great emotional range of the music unlike any other music that you are likely to hear. Among Cuban pianists, only Chucho Valdés [with his Afro-Cuban Messengers – especially – on Border Free – released on Harmonia Mundi , Jazz Village in 2013], and Gonzalo Rubalcaba on his early Grupo Proyecto album – Suite 4 y 20 – on Blue Note in 1992] have sounded as intense as Mr Cippelletti does on Hybrid/C.

Amid the rich colours emerging from the [elegant harmonic and powerful rhythmic] orchestrations of this music, there is a wholly natural feeling to the climaxes where sudden changes of direction are so perfectly judged [listen to “Dinza”, for instance] in these performances. This is a singular measure of how well Mr Cippelletti performs as conductor – and with sublime virtuosity – as a soloist. From the perfumed heaviness of the opening to the rapturous piano arabesques of subsequent music a profoundly meditative, mysterious and joyfully ebullient mood is created throughout the almost-one-hour of majestic music.

Tracks – 1: Moyugba; 2: Ilé-Ifé; 3: Ebi; 4: Iya Mi ilé; 5: Aite; 6: Amewa; 7: Dinza; 8: Black Ballad; 9: Lu-Fuki; 10: The Proverb

Musicians – Carlos Cippelletti: piano, compositions and arrangements; Bobby Martínez: tenor and soprano saxophones; Manuel Machado: trumpet; Gregorio Herreros: keyboards, synthesizers and electronics; Reinier Elizarde: contrabass; Georvis Pico: drums; Erik Larrea: bàtá drums and congas. Guest Artists – Maria José Llergo: vocals [1, 10]; Yuvisney Aguilar: bàtá drums, congas, and vocals [4]; David Lorenzo Adkinson: sound design vocal effects [9. 10]; Alvaro Artime: trumpet [7]; Cesar Filiú: alto saxophone [7]; Christian Murgui: bass clarinet [1, 10]

Released – 2022
Label – Outhere Music [OTN 642]
Runtime – 57:50

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more