Saturday, January 7, 2017

Terceto Kali: "Terceto Kali" (2016) CD Review

Terceto Kali is the trio of Jason McGuire on guitar, Paul Martin Sounder on bass and Marlon Aldana on drums. This group combines flamenco guitar with jazz (and other elements) to create excellent and interesting musical journeys. Their self-titled CD contains all original material, written by Jason McGuire (one track was co-written with José Cortés).

The lead-off track, "Zardoz," begins with some beautiful work on guitar to transport us to... Well, does it matter where to, as long as it's away? When it kicks in, this tune becomes more intense, urgent - like you might have to fight your way of a saloon before long - but the music is on your side, so is there any question of your victory? This track features some tasty percussion, plus vocals which begin approximately four and a half minutes in (this is one of only two tracks with vocals). That's José Cortés on vocals. And no, I'm not sure what connection this track has to John Boorman's film Zardoz, as I don't believe I've ever actually seen that movie. The music takes a more playful turn with "Ratones Ciegos," a strange tango with nods to the children's rhyme "Three Blind Mice." But in those moments when it picks up in pace, watch out! I love those brief, wonderful explosions. This track also features a cool bass lead by Paul Martin Sounder approximately halfway through.

The aptly titled "Romance" is a beautiful piece, full of both passion and compassion, with the guitar sometimes soothing, sometimes dancing. And while the guitar is the voice here, I also love that bass. Then "Mira Mira" begins with percussion, quickly establishing a groovy rhythm. The tune feels like a great jam built upon that rhythm, but then having some changes, some mellower passages, though returning to a joyous and somewhat wild vibe, which I love. There is great work by all three musicians, though it is Marlon whose work on drums really drives the song and shines throughout. This is one of my favorite tracks.

"A. Liberty" is a really nice solo guitar piece that draws you in by its dramatic pauses as well as by Jason McGuire's beautiful playing. That's followed by "Contratiempo," which begins as an intriguing guitar composition, at times graceful and smooth, but with wild bursts of energy. Percussion is added in the second half, as well as some great stuff on bass, and the tune develops a somewhat frenetic energy toward the end.

"Zap" is another favorite. It's a dramatic piece that I can easily immerse myself in, the guitar taking me into its story. There is also some great stuff on bass, particularly when that instrument takes over as lead. The guitar falls out entirely for a short while, for a cool bass solo, with some sparse percussion accompanying it. This track has lots of changes, taking us along different avenues.

"Kali" is the other track to feature vocals, this time right from the start, and again by José Cortés, along with Kina Mendez.  Added to the percussion on this one are hand-claps by Manuel Gutiérrez and José Cortés. José Cortés also co-wrote this tune. The CD then concludes with "Motivation," which has a playful beginning, like fooling around, warming up. This track has a taste of chaos, feels of jazz improvisation, but with some interesting elements and themes emerging.

CD Track List
  1. Zardoz
  2. Ratones Ciegos
  3. Romance
  4. Mira Mira
  5. A. Liberty
  6. Contratiempo
  7. Tio Paco
  8. Zap
  9. Kali
  10. Motivation
Terceto Kali was released on June 1, 2016.

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