Mark Weinstein - Jazz World Trios
Released by LKC Productions in 1998, Mark Weinstein's Jazz World Trios consists of three sets of two trios. Each of these sets features different sidemen, and together they span, roughly, the African musical diaspora in the Americas. Two trios reflect the North American tradition, with a blues (LKC Blues) and an Urban Jazz (Pero Como El Amor), both Weinstein originals, featuring the outstanding pairing of Santi Debriano on bass and Cindy Blackman on drums. Another two reflect the Caribbean tradition, represented by Cuba and Haiti (Eleggua and Babalu Aye), featuring the extraordinary Jean-Paul Bourelly on 12-string guitar, whose Hendrix-like wizardry, suitably restrained here, has subsequently resulted in several further collaborations with Weinstein where it has been given much greater scope, and Milton Cardona on Cuban percussion, one of its leading exponents today. The final couple of trios reflect the Brazilian tradition, Rio de Janeiro and the North East, (Baiao Granfino and Nos E O Mar), and feature Romero Lubambo on classical guitar and Cyro Baptista on Brazilian percussion, both of whom should also need no introduction. Rather than attempt to recreate or transform traditional music, Mark Weinstein and his varied sidemen in these trios play solid jazz that is however deeply rooted in traditional source melodies and rhythms. All three combinations are extremely tight, the accompaniment is empathic and sensitively restrained.
Jazz World Trios is an aptly named album in more ways than one. Not, of course, that you would expect anything less than a world class jazz album from a world class jazzman of Mark Weinstein's caliber and vintage. Yet, you can't help but marvel at this gem, all the more so when you bear in mind that this was one of Weinstein's early albums after a near two decade "sabbatical" from the scene. And all this in the unforgiving trio format as well. Baiao Granfino and LKC Blues in particular are as close to perfection as you're ever likely to hear.
Mark Weinstein's Jazz World Trios opens with Eleggua, named for the child orisha Eleggua, guardian of the crossroads who opens or closes the road, its improvisations based on the Cuban melodies and rhythms associated with this. Lively and somewhat mischievous at times, the improvs are rock solid and inventive, the playing flawless. But this is merely the prelude to what follows. Baiao Granfino, a classic melody from the 1950s in the rhythmic style characteristic of northeastern Brazil, takes things to a level that approaches perfection as closely as it's possible for all of its nearly sixteen minutes - a breathtaking blend of virtuosity and improvisational flights of fancy, Weinstein's flute soaring exhilaratingly high above the clouds. Equally sublime is LKC Blues, at just under fourteen minutes the second longest track. Mark Weinstein goes right to the heart of the blues in this original, eloquently demonstrating the inextricable ties between the blues and jazz. These exquisite improvs are more than inspired and approach the divine. Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli, two of the less well-known group of Brazilian composers who defined Bossa Nova in the 1960s, are the source of the lovely Nos E O Mar, reflective and as laid back as could be. Weinstein here shows supremely why it is such a pity the bossa has in recent decades been so shamefully ignored by the mainstream - it and he are simply glorious. Babalu Aye returns to Caribbean inspirations, using the melodies and rhythms played for the powerful Dahomean orisha of that name, the patron of the sick. Animated and joyful, this piece sees Weinstein's flute at its most lyrical. Mark Weinstein probably is the only musician thus far outside of Caribbean folk circles to have succeeded in evoking the true spirit as well as spirituality of the music of old African religions as they survive in the Caribbean, and this track is no exception. Weinstein's deeply spiritual and sensitive soul shines, as indeed it always does. The closer, Pero Como El Amor, is inspired by Lorca's poem Madrugada, the first line of which gives this piece its title. The opening melody of this Weinstein original was written to accompany the first two stanzas. To those familiar with Lorca's poem, the music will be hauntingly evocative of its mood picture. Cindy Blackman's sensitive trap solos enhance the mood just perfectly and are a superb complement to Weinstein's now plaintive, now dancing flute improvs.
All in all, Mark Weinstein's Jazz World Trios has to be an absolute "must have" for any serious jazz fan, let alone for any dedicated Afro-Latin jazz aficionado.
© 2004 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.
1. Eleggua - Weinstein, Bourelly, Cardona - 9:54
2. Baiao Granfino - Weinstein, Lubambo, Baptista - 15:54
3. LKC Blues - Weinstein, Debriano, Blackman (Weinstein) - 13:58
4. Nos E O Mar - Weinstein, Lubambo, Baptista (Menescal/Boscoli) - 7:25
5. Babalu Aye - Weinstein, Bourelly, Cardona - 12:38
6. Pero Como El Amor - Weinstein, Debriano, Blackman (Weinstein) - 7:28