Sebastian Schunke | Diego Pinera: Elusive Beauty

The album Elusive Beauty by Sebastian Schunke and Diego Pinera – together with reedsmeister Benjamin Weidekamp, violist Yodfat Miron and cellist Boram Lie – takes music into a dimension that is both ethereal and otherworldly as well as penetrating the known world of sound deeply. In fact Mr Schunke in his short essay on the music of this album makes a case for what he calls fourth stream. Whether or not one is comfortable with another epithet to describe the progress of Latin-Jazz with an infusion of new European ideas, Mr Schunke’s music rhythmically entwined with Diego Pinera’s drums and percussion colouring seems to support the argument once made by Antonio Carlos Jobim that “popular and serious music should not be construed as two separate and distinct turfs especially when good pop (he was referring, of course to Jazz and Bossa Nova) is innovative and meets high musical standards it not only does it survive, but tends to be assimilated in the classical music of our time.”

This music which Mr Schunke has deemed to be Elusive Beauty takes that whole concept much further. True, Mr Schunke would consider himself allied to “Jazz” and “Latin-Jazz”, but these conventional epithets simply imprison the music that Mr Schunke has created for this performance. Listening to it one is reminded of a magical, elegant railway system linking Jazz, folk, Afro-Caribbean, Berlin Cabaret music and the chamber music style of the post-serialist 20th century conservatoire. And yet describing it as such gives the impression of over-cooking. In reality it’s anything but that; the whole project, in fact, is a masterpiece of subtlety. Throughout Mr Schunke navigates labyrinthine melodic lines harmonised by himself – and on the two parts of “Back to Life” and “Der Gedanke” by Mr Weidekamp, Miss Miron and Miss Lie – joined by the dazzling drummer and percussionist Diego Pinera who creates broodingly percussive tumbling grooves that lift the music to an elevated realm.

The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration into deep sonic space, of singularity and tradition… all of this is impressively maintained throughout. It puts Mr Schunke at the pinnacle of his compositional and pianistic powers. He may indeed scale greater heights in the future. But even if he never makes another record he can rest assured that Elusive Beauty is one of which he can be enormously proud for its music – whether in its darkened shadowy sonic world or in its joyous dancing – engages you like few recordings will. And with the presence of his co-conspirator Diego Pinera, Sebastian Schunke has taken all of the elements of modern music to quite another level.

Track list – 1: Rapsodia No. 3 Alles Im Fluss; 2: Einsamkeit; 3: Back to Life Part I; 4: Back to Life Part II; 5: Rapsodia No. 4 Crazy Danzón; 6: Der Gedanke; 7: Her Dance

Personnel – Sebastian Schunke: piano and compositions; Diego Pinera: drums and percussion; Benjamin Weidekamp: bass clarinet and clarinet (3, 4, 6); Yodfat Miron: viola (3, 4, 6); Boram Lie: cello (3, 4, 6)

Released – 2018
Label – Termidor Musikverlag AG (Catalogue No 59980-2)
Runtime – 48:38

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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

Featured Posts

Pablo Ziegler: The Pianist That Caresses Our Listening

"Tango is a musical style that must constantly evolve and not be some ridiculous folklore to lure tourists" - Astor Piazzolla The celebrated Argentinian pianist...

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...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more