Emilio Solla: Conversas


Conversas (Al Lado Del Agua)


Emilio Solla (piano)


Conversas (Fresh Sound World Jazz FSWJ 040)

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Emilio Solla (piano).

Composed by Emilio Solla


Recorded: Girona, Spain, October 2007


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Emilio Solla y Afines is a talented international musician combining jazz, classical music and traditional ethnic music into a pleasing casserole. In his case, the tango tradition figures greatly in his playing. Much of this album takes its identity from bandmate Carlos Morera's playing of the traditional Latin American instrument the bandoneon, which sounds somewhat like an accordion. The trick is to not make the music so Latin that the other elements are hidden. For the most part, Solla and his band accomplish this task with ease, skill and taste.

The title cut, however, is actually a Solla piano solo. It is miles apart from anything else heard on the album. I find it a good exercise to choose an outlier to review. To me, it is always best to listen to a musician playing outside the box of the expected. It gives you more understanding of the player's range. Despite its Spanish name, "Conversas" is not Latin-heavy. Instead, it is a series of lush and gentle arpeggios built on each other. The sparse melody is slow and subtle. Solla is in no hurry to impress you with his chops. Thoughtfulness and storytelling reign. In some ways, his inventiveness reminds me of the wonderful Mitchel Forman. He tends to use more space and his fingers are not quite as light. But the feelings he conveys put him in the same class. In my book, that class has very few students.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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