Ignacio Berroa: Heritage and Passion

Heritage and Passion… Never was an album so aptly titled and rarely has an album been so magnificently and ingeniously crafted. And while synthesizers and midi controllers may have been used before to great effect by the likes of Miles Davis, Weather Report and by Ralph Towner and Oregon, and Lyle Mays, the crafty manner of their use by Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Mark Shim is absolutely alluring and inventive. But first there is this: from behind a battery of drums and cymbals, Ignacio Berroa conducts his ensemble with ingenuity and his drumming simply catches fire as the music progresses. There are drummers who are more explosive than Mr. Berroa playing today. He is one of those extraordinary percussionists who came to the attention of the world of music when he appeared with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra. He played no small role there. His mastery of tuned percussions brought untold joy to the music of that incredible band. Since then Ignacio Berroa’s musicianship has assumed magisterial proportions, reaching a place that can only be described as the envy of the percussionists of this day.

Ignacio Berroa’s music is informed by a voice that is at once extroverted and exuberant, as it is masterfully Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American and polyrhythmic. Can this really be so? Many have tried but few have been capable of mastering the mysteries of both types of drumming despite the fact that the music of both cultures grew out of a similar polyrhythmic origin. Even the great drummers of Jazz have found themselves agape at the primordial vitality of Afro-Caribbean musicology. Here is where the visceral nature of Mr. Berroa’s music gets more interesting. For like Horacio Hernández, that other Cuban-born genius, Mr. Berroa combines the momentous rumble, and the epochal musicality of Afro-Cuban and Afro-American drumming with the delicacy of tuned, Western symphonic percussion. There is a case here for acknowledging a rare melodic and rhythmic genius of Mr. Berroa; a genius that has blossomed as he turned to a form of expression that literally gives voice to his chimerical inspiration: African polyrhythms that have become second nature to the music of the Caribbean and continental USA.

The magnificent collision between Ornette Coleman’s exquisite and elementally bluesy song, “When Will the Blues Leave” and the joyous Cuban classic “Vine Pa’ echar Candela” and between “La Bayamesa” and “America the Beautiful” will be recognised as the stuff that legends are made of. The inexhaustible surge of rhythm and melody expresses the sheer joy of being alive. “Ignacio’s Solo” is more than a delightful miniature; it is a veritable rhythmic poem evoking the fibrillations of a highly excited heart beating inside a body in the throes of a memorable song. Much of this “memorable song” owes much to Gonzalo Rubalcaba, whose mythical genius is all over this album. This should not diminish the contributions of pianist Luis Perdomo, guitarist Adam Rogers and saxophonist Mark Shim. Their playing may be likened to virtually uninterrupted and blossoming melody that only enraptured music is made of. Nor is the work of bassists Boris Kozlov and Ricardo “Ricky” Rodriguez any less memorable. The complex allure of music made simply beautiful? Such is the inevitable magnificence that is all over this album.

Track List: When Will the Blues Leave / Vine Pa echar Candela; Evidence; Laura’s Waltz; La Bayamesa / America the Beautiful; Nardis; Ignacio’s Solo; Altos e Baixos; Surviving in the City; La Perla del Eden; Cuartetos.

Personnel: Ignacio Berroa: drums; Luis Perdomo: piano (1, 2, 8, 9, 10); Boris Kozlov: acoustic bass (3, 4, 5, 7); Mark Shim: tenor saxophone (1, 8, 9, 10), Yamaha Midi Controller (2, 4, 5); Ricardo “Ricky” Rodriguez: acoustic bass (1, 2, 8, 9, 10), electric bass (8); Adam Rogers: guitar (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Mauricio Herrera, percussion (1, 4, 7, 8, 10); Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano (3, 4, 7), synthesizer (1, 4, 8, 10); Produced by Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Label: 5 Passion
Release date: February 2015
Website: ignacioberroa.com
Buy music on: amazon

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

Related posts

11,403FansLike
1,661FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,658FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

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