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Cubist Music by Paul Edelstein
Accompanied by a world-class ensemble including Don Byron on clarinet, David Sanchez and Greg Tardy on tenor saxophones, Miguel Zenon and Steve Wilson on alto saxes, Drew Gress on bass and Bruce Cox on drums – Edsel Gomez makes a stunning debut on this Zoho Music release titled CUBIST MUSIC. Gomez’s idea of Cubist music is a translation of Cubist art from visual to aural in perception – a search for melodies or patterns that are perceived to have a beginning and an end. As a leader, Gomez has given his band mates an impressive guide for improvising and soloing using these “unitiffs” (unit patterns & melodic motifs) to bring about a deeper appreciation of the melody. The pianist/composer reaches deep into his Puerto Rican roots to pay tribute to his countryman “Juan Tizol” – the trombonist and long-time Duke Ellington sideman who composed “Perdido.” This song is, by far, one of the best on the CD. Further inspiration from his Puerto Rican homeland comes in the form of “Coqui Serenade” – which is named for a tiny croaking frog that has a distinctive night sound. The song captures the essence of this lively night creature by featuring the dual flute work of Wilson and Tardy interwoven with Don Byron’s clarinet and Tardy’s bass clarinet. In keeping with the Cubist theme, Gomez has written “W. 54th Street Theme” and “NYC Taxi Ride” as nostalgic Cubist portraits of the lively night life and atmosphere on the streets and neighborhoods he frequented. His piano is lyrical and serene, emotional and adventurous. Overall, this is an excellent debut with exemplary collaborations. Add CUBIST MUSIC to your jazz collection today
Cubist Music (Zoho) by Tad Hendrickson

brandingimag.jpgMAKING HIS DOMESTIC debut after three Brazilian imports and several years as a notable sideman, Puerto Rican pianist Edsel Gomez arrives with the multifaceted debut. As with the painting style, Cubist Music features small motifs pasted together to become unique but generally organic tunes that are in the post end of post-bop. This is music where little melodies abound like gifts under the tree: each one is unwrapped, played with and then set aside for the next. Joined by an A-team crew of former employers, Gomez has saxophonists David Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, Greg Tardy and Steve Wilson as well as Don Byron on clarinet and Drew Gress on bass. The material can be a little discordant at times (“Harmolodic Collage” and “Ladybug”), but these moments are nicely balanced by arching melodies (“Juan Tizol” and the elegant “Empty House”). Cerebral but altogether winning, Cubist Music is an unexpected surprise that will start the New Year off on the right note.

– Tad Hendrickson