The Zoho label is serious about its Latinate sounds, and one could hardly do better than to catch their adventurous genre releases. Here, pianist David Feldman lays in a truly arresting non-stop set of tempo shifts and abstractions that demand close listening. In the very first cut, Aqui, Oh!, he treads a delightfully convoluted path for a goodly while as a prelude to a stunning drum solo by drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, a cat who can pull out all the stops at a moment's notice, electrifying the listener with sounds rarely heard from traps any more, mindful of Buddy Rich by way of Edward Vesala. In fact, there could have been scads more drum solos, and none would've complained for a moment, as this gent is unreal.
The promo lit to this release rhapsodizes on Toninho Horta's music as "profoundly searching, lyrical, and virtuosic", and nothing could be more true. There's a sophistication present that's mind-blowing, and the Da Fonseca Trio capitalizes on it like nobody's business. Even the ballads—Moonstone for instance—carry subtly challenging passages and offhand colorations that defy expectations while managing to remain in the cut's defined parameters. Plays Toninho Horta is what jazz trios are all about, and the richness of thought, chops, and sophisticated audacity goes back to Monk and Kirk days, a time when intellectualism was transforming the jazz idiom and geniuses stalked the Earth.
Any fearful that the epoch has sauntered to the tarpits need only listen to this CD for assurance to the contrary. True, the mode has gone underground, as the documentary Icons Among Us (here) well demonstrates, but it's far from dead, thank God, and efforts like this re-ignite the smoldering embers back into a blaze. One criticism, however: Aqui, Oh! fades out just as Feldman starts REALLY pouring it on, going nuts, hypnotizingly heading for the stratosphere, and that truncation is a shame because, man o man!, I was falling blissfully into the deeps on that one, only to be brought up short. No complaints, mind you, not really, there's so much in his work to bite into anyway, but…guys, cah-mon, was that truly necessary? I'm weeping in my beer here!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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