Exploring Marta Sánchez’s Quintet with Linda Oh, Immanuel Wilkins, and Gerald Clayton: A Contemporary Jazz Masterpiece

2023-06-04 20:05:04

The whole of this new album by the quintet of the Spanish pianist martha sanchez offers pieces of long forms, very complex and always well written. The writing and the arrangements are clear, which leaves room for all the musicians and values ​​them. In doing so, Sánchez affirms his belonging to a branch of contemporary jazz musicians that includes, among others, Linda Oh, Immanuel Wilkins, Gerald Clayton. All present cohesive and committed groups, everything is very well played, never excessively, but also without a lot of risk taking, nor contrasts. The music sometimes sounds a little flat, with little variation in tempo and dynamics. Marta Sánchez gives a very good performance, while listening to the other musicians.

One of the strengths of the album is that it is indeed a quintet and not an accompanied pianist. The track “The Unconquered Vulnerable Areas”, which opens this album, contains a powerful solo by tenor saxophonist Roman Filiu, a musician who stands out from the others throughout the disc. The fourth and seventh tracks, “The Eternal Stillness” and “The Hard Balance” respectively, have very interesting double bass solos. Rashan Carter manages to play both intimately and with melodic beauty. “Maravi”, which includes Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Charlotte Greve on synthesizer and Camila Meza on guitar and vocals, is the only track where all the musicians of the quintet are not present. It is dedicated to the pianist’s mother, who died in Spain during the covid-19 crisis while her daughter was in New York. SAAM (Spanish American Art Musuem) and “December 11th” are important tracks, as is “The Hard Balance” which, as Michael Formanek suggests in his text on the cover, contains the key term to describe this music, namely the ‘balance.

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