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Reviews Artwork: Marla Cruz. Artwork: Marla Cruz.

The Journey / Zule War

Imagine a way in which you are completely free with your voice, your body, your movements and senses. That, closely, is making jazz. Within the structured markings of rhythms and beats, shapes and tonalities, everything can be transformed, as if you almost spontaneously managed to turn the freedom of your thoughts into sounds; turn and arrive in a new universe with other brightness and colors.

When you listen to a jazz album, after having known and loved others before, you wish that the subtlety of the sounds, the improvisations and its musical production surprise you. At least that's what I yearn for. It doesn't matter the style, the mergers or the grouping. You hope that, within any musical form and combination of voices and instruments, the freedom that characterizes the genre will have a balance that will allow you to recognize and enjoy virtuosity, but also the other timbre bands, their functions and their resulting rich sound. In that game between themes and solos — even more when they don't forget that they are not, in fact, so alone — is magic.

I started listening to a new record and the most surprising thing while doing it was that, a priori, I managed to get rid of my rationalization, the one that quickly responds to its training and begins the search for associations, influences and various judgments. Trip, by Zule Guerra, apprehended me without quickly plunging me into the intricacies of musical analysis and aesthetics. It is an album that manages to present itself as a friendly stranger, that enters your house, in your ears and you quickly know that you have won (or have won) a new phonogram to place in your library, one of those that you will listen to until you memorize all its spells. .

Zule Guerra, renowned singer, surprises us in Trip as a songwriter. In his past production Havana Blues There are four songs of her authorship, however, the recent album —released under the Egrem label— is made up entirely of unpublished works by the jazz player. The result is an album that achieves curatorial coherence, defines and consolidates a style and denotes the creative and interpretative maturity reached by the artist. Of course, all this was nurtured with the extraordinary musical production work carried out by Ernán López-Nussa and the arrangements by Jesús Pupo, who also appears as a pianist. In the interpretation of other instruments stand out Samuel Burgos (bass), Marcos Morales (drums), Héctor Quintana (guitar), Degnis Bofill (percussion), Alejandro Delgado (flugelhorn), Emir Santa Cruz (tenor saxophone) and, in sound, Alfonso Pena.

part of the magic of Trip lies in the fact that his songs are a series of stories. In ten songs, memories, passions and stories of Zule are synthesized; the memories about love, family and fantasies have a personal bias, but the lyrics and their poetry allow you to appropriate them to imagine your own journey.

In this work you can find a succession of diverse musical genres that not only make your listening attractive, but also become the ideal vehicle for the narration of each of the stories on the album. The predominant acoustic format favors the exchange between traditional rhythms, melodies and harmonies of blues, Latin jazz, bolero, creole, Congo tango and, in turn, allows you to freely stroll through the most contemporary sounds of jazz.

In general, the album has a very good balance between text and music. Its excellent arrangements not only reach the game between the different genres, but also support the musical conduction between all the parts of each song and the different forms of accompaniment to the main voice.

Montuno it was the first single I discovered, and rarely is the saying better used honey for the ears A bolero-son with all the romanticism and mystery that characterizes the tradition of these genres in Cuba. Simple, subtle, where the music balances the traditional with our days and listening invites you to imagine past times, like those of your grandparents, which you idealize with great affection.

And it is that in this disc the displacements in time come and go. This is also the case in Song for Luis to fall asleep, a child like Eliseo Grenet's famous black girl. In habanera rhythm, a new mother turns to singing and lullaby as the universal solution to get the day done. The accompaniment, with a continuous piano as dynamics, cradles this lullaby, and creates the ideal environment so that the night is the only owner of the next few hours to live.

The good thing about being able to sing your own creations, as Zule does, is that you compose according to your abilities and your technical and interpretive potential. This principle stands out in track which titles the album. the melody of Trip, with its long intervals, chromatisms and abundant phrasing in rhythmic contrasts, accents and timbres of the voice, it is full of resources that from a rhetorical interpretation reflect part of the philosophy of the text: to experience the freedom of living without the end being destiny , enjoy the ups and downs of every step we take. And it is that part of our history is to move to the rhythm of the claps that sound in the Creole in blues; while the incessant rhythm marks the steps, the voice improvises with resources such as scat, all the transformations that constantly cross paths.

Without the interest of revealing everything about Trip, finally I would like to draw your attention to some of the solos that you will be able to listen to. Legend, one of the most enigmatic themes that you will find in this production, uses the flugelhorn to, between simple scales and brief atonal melodies, recreate all the fabulous atmosphere of the song and the perfect conduction between its parts. There are improvisations that achieve, in addition to verifying how virtuous their interpreters can be, being part of a work and the inspiration or concept that defines it. So it happens in You make me dream, where the counterpoint built by the bass, the voice and the drum Together with the Alberti-style accompaniment of the piano, he achieves the translation of the passion that the text describes with all the gradual force that reaches and invades the senses.

So far, dear reader, I advance judgments and subjective perceptions of what I want to become a formal invitation to listen. I suffer from the terrible opinion of believing that not many albums currently on our Island manage to go beyond the practical exercise of vocal-instrumental interpretation. Therefore, I appreciate an album like Trip in our soundscape, focused on finding the art element of music and capable of circumventing the real variables of time and place that constantly inhabit our thoughts.

Carla Mesa Musicologist and for more. Shy but with character. Music, smile, art, dance, family and friends. I don't lose faith in being a better cook. More posts

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