08 December 2009

Review: Un Monton de Notas

Emilio Teubal & La Banteuband
Un Monton De Notas

First, a confession. Latin jazz has been woefully underrepresented in this space. Luckily we live in a world that includes people like Chip Boas, whose blog, The Latin Jazz Corner, is essential reading. And today I'll take my first dip in the water with a review of an album that recently landed on my desk which I find representative of the depth and breadth of Latin jazz.

Patrick Jarenwattananon wrote recently that Latin jazz is "not just a synonym for Afro-Cuban jazz any more." Indeed, like other broad subgenres (postbop, avant garde, etc.), Latin jazz can include influences from any number of Hispanic cultures, and those influences can be at the forefront of the music or simply another ingredient in an artist's style.

Emilio Teubal falls in the latter category, employing a style that is informed by Latin rhythms while not allowing it to overshadow the rest of the ingredients. His new album, Un Monton De Notas, is the best kind of multigenre fusion: it reminds me of diffeent things (the opening track, Ping Pong, recalls the melody of Jitterbug Waltz over a faint clave rhythm) but sounds like nothing else.

Teubal uses this album to explore not only melody but also sounds. The instrumentation is very textured; there are very few open spaces sonically (though there are plenty spaces melodically). Teubal is an interesting composer whose tunes feature a strong pulse set against melodies that take their time to bloom. He himself has a subtly percussive style of piano playing, which match the airy flow of the winds on tracks like X-cetera (After) quite nicely. Teubal is still young, but he already possesses a keen knowledge and strong musicality, as well as the perspective to keep things in balance.

Video: Emilio Teubal & La Balteuband play Ping Pong at the Release party for Un Monton de Notas

Track Listing: Ping Pong; Before the Outerspace; X-cetera (After); Un Monton De Notas; El Amanecido; Baguala; (T) La Arania '08; A La Pantalla A; Coda(1:39)
Personnel: Emilio Teubal, piano, fender rhodes, accordion; Xavier Perez, soprano and tenor saxophone, flute; Felipe Salles, soprano and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Moto Fukushima, bass; Franco Pinna, drums, bombo leguero; Kobi Salomon, Ivan Baremboim, clarinet; Greg Heffernan, cello; Marcelo Wolski, percussion

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