Loz Speyer’s Time Zone: Clave Sin Embargo

Loz Speyer's Time Zone: Clave con EmbargoHaving spent close to ten years in Oriente, in Eastern Cuba, a province that is made up of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Guantánamo, and Santiago de Cuba where he spent most of his time there, Loz Speyer seems to have absorbed not only the provincial history but, more than anything else, the lessons of its cultural topography. Thus Mr Speyer has become steeped in the rhythms and emotions of tumba Francesa, changüi and other inflections of son. Best of all, Mr Speyer has been incontrovertibly affected by the spiritual and secular imperatives of what may be called conga santiaguera en el Oriente de Cuba. Naturally, he pours these influences out into his music with other members of the iconic ensemble Time Zone.

Mr Speyer may not be alone in becoming mesmerised by the heady rhythms and colourful harmonies of Afro-Cuban music. He has, however, made its voicing, textures, colours and vital rhythmic heartbeat all his own in his compositions and performance. Though the music is a clearly crafted enterprise, the vivid elements of the Cuban comparsa, of the hypnotic Lucumi worship ceremonies and the nocturnal descargas are all quite organically evoked in the songs presented here. Everywhere, the music is anchored in the rumble of Maurizio Ravalico’s congas, Dave Manington’s bass and Andy Ball’s drums, soaring melodies are met with ecstatic countermelodies and harmonies from Martin Hathaway’s alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and Stuart Hall’s guitar.

If you are expecting to find what is (so inadequately) described as salsa then you may be in the wrong club. True, this music is vivid and it dances, but Mr Speyer’s music is also woven into the diaphanous fabric of Latin-Jazz, which is to say his music is artfully subsumed not simply by Afro-Cuban forms but also melded into the ethos of Jazz with vociferous trumpet and saxophone soli (eminently alive in “Stratosphere”, “Mood Swings” and – especially in the humours of “Checkpoint Charlie”) and the loud reports of the guitarist (again, on “Checkpoint Charlie”), and this helps him somehow bring to life two disparate worlds as far removed as Oriente is from the despicable and now-dismantled Wall in erstwhile East Berlin, and Britain, where he is based.

Like all of the preeminently written Blues music and music conceived in the secret of conga and batá codes (without a batá drum in sight of the studio, in this case) Mr Speyer has, of course connected all the proverbial dots, drawing a firm line between history’s and music’s secrets. He has also revealed that he is more than simply a trumpeter blowing a wonderfully powerful horn, but a socially conscious artist making a somewhat angular statement. All of the above is painted on an exquisite musical canvas, which is most vividly and memorably depicted on “Guarapachanguero” and “Dalston Carnival”, a full-on comparsa.

You would be hard-pressed to find music so vibrant and viscerally energetic than the eight pieces on Clave Sin Embargo; and it all comes from an unexpected, yet truly welcome source – Loz Speyer’s Time Zone.

Track list – 1: Stratosphere; 2: Mood Swings; 3: Lost at Sea; 4: Full Circle; 5: Checkpoint Charlie; 6: Guarapachanguero; 7: Crossing the Line; 8: Dalston Carnival

Personnel – Loz Speyer: trumpet and flugelhorn; Martin Hathaway: alto saxophone and bass clarinet; Stuart Hall: guitar; Dave Manington: contrabass; Maurizio Ravalico: congas; Andy Ball: drums

Released – 2019
Label – Spherical Records (SPR005)
Runtime – 1:01:17

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

Promotionspot_img
Promotionspot_img

Featured Posts

Leandro Saint-Hill Quartet Presenta: Cadencias

El título de este disco, Cadencias, de Leandro Saint-Hill y su cuarteto, parece encajar con la música como un guante de terciopelo. Las "cadencias"...

Boricua Pioneer · Angelina Rivera

If Hollywood made Angelina Rivera's life story into a biopic, the cast would include jazz legends William Marion Cook, Sidney Bechet, Freddy Guy, Fats...

Jazz, Latin Jazz, the Music Continuum and Dissipative Structures

Introduction If there is anything that we ought to have learned from the scientists, from Pythagoras and Archimedes, Ptolemy and Kepler, to Charles Darwin and...

Boricua Pioneer, Dama de la Salsa: Yolanda Rivera

Yolanda Rivera is the Undisputed Afro-Puerto Rican Queen of Salsa, a role model for emerging salseros and salseras, and, with the exception of Celia...

Puerto Rico Jazz: The Workshops

According to professor Warren R. Pinckney Jr., “The renaissance of Puerto Rican art music in the late 1950s and 1960s created a cultural climate...

Boricua Jazz Pioneer: Joseph Estevez Jr. aka Joe Loco (1921-1988)

How did the pianist JOE LOCO (Crazy Joe) acquire the nickname? Theories abound. According to Jose Mangual, Sr., "The 'loco' tag was hung on...

Boricua Pioneer Ana Otero: “The Pianist of America”

Mention the name Ana Otero to the average person in Puerto Rico or the States. More than likely, you will draw a blank. In...

Welcome To The Puerto Rico Project!

In 2017, I created the PUERTO RICO PROJECT in response to the devastating impact of Hurricane María on the island and its music community....

Remembering The Giant of the Keyboards

Charlie Palmieri (1927-1988) was a pianist, organist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, and Eddie Palmieri's elder brother. In 1926, Isabel and Carlos Palmieri migrated to the...

Frank Emilio Flynn · Amor & Piano

The name of the great Cuban composer and pianist Frank Emilio Flynn bears similarities to that of the Brasilian composer and saxophonist Moacir...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more