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
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

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