Manuel Gutierrez: Illa Da Lua (2013)
The 40 year old Spanish pianist has long been associated with blues singer and guitarist Victor Aneiros and with Galician jazz trio Summrá. He's also a member of guitarist Marcos Pin's big band, Factor-E Reset. Illa Da Lua is a straight-ahead jazz piano trio album, closer to the sound of Summrá than it is to Aneiros' work or to Pin's large ensemble. A wholly acoustic line-up, without recourse to electronic fripperies, the three musicians impress both with their technical skill and their emotional connection to the music.
The opening three tunes form a showcase for the trio's swinging, bop-ish attack. "Analoxia" is characterized by an urgency and drive, coming mostly from Dominguez' cymbals which do at times rather overwhelm the piano. "Starting Point" is a more complex tune, moving from Gutierrez' unaccompanied, angular, introduction into an energetic ensemble mid-section before returning to the calmness of the solo piano. "Serie B" gets a particularly bouncy rhythmic foundation for Gutierrez' angular, assertive, lead line, with its hints of Thelonious Monk's influence.
The graceful title track and its successor, "Bagoas na Chuvia," form a restful centerpiece. "Reincidente" closes the album with a combination of hard-edged groove and melodic swing. There's tension in the tune as well, adding a dramatic flourish to the trio's sound. As a whole, Illa Da Lua is a varied and engaging work. Gutierrez' compositions are immediately accessible yet still rewarding to repeated listening.
Track Listing: Analoxia; Starting Point; Serie B; Illa da Lua; Bagoas na Chuvia; Reincidente.
Personnel: Manuel Gutierrez: piano; Tom Warburton: bass; Dani Dominguez: drums.
Record Label: Free Code Jazz Records