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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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David Gordon Trio Speaks Latin




1. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas

2. La Chipola

3. Angelita Huenumán

4. Duerme Negrito

5. Sambova

6. Como săo Lindos os Yougis (Waltz for Bebel)

7. Baiăo Malandro

8. Chorinho

9. Piel Canela

10. La Puńalada

11. Bajo un sauce llorón

12. Deixa

13. Tonada de la luna llena

14. Tico Tico no Fubá

David Gordon (piano)

Jonty Fisher (double bass)

Paul Cavaciuti (drums)

rec. at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, UK on 2-4 April, 2012 [72:03]


Looking on David Gordon’s website this is what he says about this disc “If you thought that Latin jazz was all about salsa and bossa nova The David Gordon Trio Speaks Latin invites you to think again” and I sit here well and truly re-educated and with my mouth open. He was right that normally I think just like that and was bitterly disappointed that I didn’t really enjoy the Buena Vista Social Club disc that was so popular some years ago. I’d bought it on the strength of the first track Chan, Chan which I still think is a great track but the rest of the disc bored me with ‘jazz’ that really didn’t engage me because it lacked variety; too much Latin and not enough jazz. This disc is a totally different ball game because it is jazz first and foremost but with a Latin flavour and makes for a really engaging set of fantastic music that I was reluctant to let go of. David Gordon has an astonishingly delicate touch making each note sound like a shining jewel while his colleagues are the perfect partners with Jonty Fisher’s beautifully resonant bass and wonderful clarity and precision from Paul Cavaciuti’s drums and cymbals.

I’m finding it difficult to pick out highlights because everyone’s a winner but needs must so... La Chipola is a superbly infectious tune, originally for harp from the plains of Venezuela which Gordon has skilfully transposed for his trio and which sounds equally at home as a jazz number.

Victor Jara was always a hero of mine, the very personification of decent humanity as founder of the New Chilean Song movement that became synonymous with Salvador Allende and the Chilean Revolution and its principles of love, peace and social justice. Both Jara and Allende were callously murdered when Pinochet’s coup overturned the government in 1973. Jara was an inspiration around the world and his message continues to resonate across the years. Only six days after Jara’s murder a Soviet astronomer, Nicolai Chernykh, discovered a minor planet and named it after him so 2644 Victor Jara will always remind future generations of him. David Gordon’s arrangement of Jara’s song Angelita Huenumán about a poor weaving woman the words of which say ‘she weaves a flower so miraculously you can smell its perfume’ brings out every nuance of this lovely song giving it new life and reminding us of Jara’s legacy. The false endings only add to the tantalising nature of this brilliantly engaging song.

Gordon proves how much into the Latin groove he is by his synthesis of Argentinian and Brazilian rhythms in his own tune Sambova which could easily be an authentic Latin American original thus showing his prowess as composer in this fantasy which delights the whole way through. Bai ăo Malandro is a fabulous Brazilian composition by pianist Egberto Gismondi which David Gordon’s trio make so delicious you want to play it over and over again while crying out with delight. Piel Canela is three minutes of pure fun which shows that the trio can also sing and that their Spanish sounds pretty convincing.

Tonada de la luna llena is pure beauty and that is emphasised by the trio’s ability to treat things gently with Gordon’s facility for simply caressing the keys and bass and drums accompanying with deftly light touches. You’ll instantly recognise the final tune Tico Tico no Fubá though there’s no doubt you’ll never have heard it played quite as frantically as it is here but that just adds to its attraction.

I can’t praise this disc too highly as it’s a joy from start to finish and has proved that the David Gordon Trio can give new musical meaning to a genre that can easily outstay its welcome in the wrong hands. These musicians are true master craftsmen and each plays his role with keen appreciation for the dynamics of the tune and their part in the trio the result of which is a perfect harmony of ideas and execution.

Steve Arloff

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