Doug Beavers: Art of the Arrangement (El Arte del Arreglo)

Editor’s Pick · Featured Album

There has never been any doubt that Doug Beavers is among the most important artists in the burgeoning Latin-Jazz musical arena. But when he produced and starred in Titanes del Trombón, his sophomore album on the fan-funded artistShare he had effectively ignited a career of atomic proportion. True, he had been lead trombonist and arranger for Eddie Palmieri‘s La Perfecta II and even launched his solo career with the spectacular nonet recording Two Shades of Nude , but his 2015 album re-announced his arrival like that of the all-conquering hero of the Latin-Jazz idiom. Who knew that there would be so much more to come and that 2017 would be the year when Doug Beavers was to make that happen with Art of the Arrangement (El Arte del Arreglo) Nevertheless, he does so album after album and here he is once again: the trombonist, composer and in spectacular fashion, the re-harmonising, arranger-nonpareil: Doug Beavers.

Among the informed circles of aficionados and peers, Doug Beavers is well-known for the wealth of refined and beautiful music that he has shared over the years. His unique style – as a writer, re-harmoniser and instrumentalist – reveals a Romantic sensibility often held in check by a classical sense of form and decorum. But everything he writes and plays is and has always been music of feeling, often of passion, sometimes aspiring to the epic and transcendent and often tending towards the discreet and intimate means of expression. And at its best the music of Doug Beavers possesses elegance, harmonic adventurousness and an understated but intense degree of feeling. And all of this peaks in inimitable fashion on the 2017 album Art of the Arrangement (El Arte del Arreglo), which showcases those very talents and extraordinarily creative skills. It is also a proverbial doffing of the hat to the history and heritage of great arrangers of Latin-Jazz music: to men such as Ray Santos, Marty Sheller, José Madera, Oscar Hernández, Gonzalo Grau, Angel Fernández, and it also features six superb arrangements of his own.

On a recording that features the voices of so many arrangers naturally there is a variety of instrumental inflections that unfold at the hands of a very large and superbly drilled ensemble. The beauty of the voices of individual arrangers is sublimely interpreted by the musicians who are brought together by Doug Beavers’ baton. Throughout there is a feeling Mr Beavers allows a free reign of expression and emotion. There is a delicious odour of incense, which elevated the joyous feelings enormously. One of the most innovative features of the works is, naturally, its orchestration – the melding together of human voices, and woodwinds and brass with percussion and other rhythm instruments – that creates a very huge and warmly mellow sound. Soloing is brief and potent, and each solo is characterised by an almost magical ability on the part of the soloist to immediately get to the focus of phrases of the most value and which jumps to the creation of music striking for its clarity and ingenuity.

This music is also vast in its emotional scope thanks to music such as “New Rumba” with its unfettered swing and “Montara Eleguá” which is deeply meditative and spiritual. Clearly this is an album not to have and to hold, but one to listen to over and over again, in wonderment of the sheer skill and sheer creativity in its component parts which all come together with the ingenuity of Doug Beavers.

Track list – 1: New Rumba (for Gil Evans); 2: El Truquito; 3: Estoy Como Nunca; 4: Para Bailar El Montuno; 5: De Repente; 6: Perico Perejil; 7: Siempre; 8: Montara Eleguá (feat. Pedrito Martinez); 9: Sunflowers; 10: Suave Así; 11: Barra Limpia; 12: Gate C13 (Bonus Track)

Personnel – Saxophones: Todd Barshore: alto and soprano saxophones; Iván Renta: tenor and soprano saxophones; Mitch Frohman: baritone saxophone; David De Jesús: alto saxophone; Trumpets: Raul Agraz, Héctor Colón, Frank David Greene, Pete Nater, John Walsh, Thomas Marriott (12); Trombones: Doug Beavers, Ray David Alejandre (1, 2, 4, 9, 11, 12); Max Segal: (bass trombone); Beserat Tafesse (9, 12); French horns: Eric C Davis, Justin Mullins; Tuba: Max Segal (8, 11); Piano and keyboards: Oscar Hernández, Yeisson Villamar (1, 7, 8, 11), Zaccai Curtis (9, 11); Bass: Luques Curtis (1, 8, 9, 12); Jerry Madera, Máximo Rodriguez (7, 11); Percussion: Luisito Quintero: timbales, bongos; Camilo Molina: timbales, quinto, batá, bongos and campana; George Delgado: congas, batá, maracas and guiro; Johnny ‘Dandy’ Rodriguez: bongos, campana and guiro; José Madera: timbales; Roberto Quintero: congas (7); Vocals: Hernán Olivera (3, 4); Frankie Vasquez (2, 6); Jeremy Bosch (5); Cita Rodriguez (5); Marco Bermudez (10); Carlos Cascante (7, 11); Pedrito Martinez (8); Coros: Marco Bermudez, Jeremy Bosch, Carlos Cascante, Cita Rodriguez; Arrangers: Doug Beavers (1, 2, 8, 9, 11, 12); Oscar Hernández (5); José Madera (10); Marty Sheller (3); Gonzalo Grau (7); Angel Fernández (4); Ray Santos (6)

Released – 2017
Label – artistShare
Runtime – 1:13:22

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.

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