FAME Review: Alí Bello - Connection Caracas-New York
Alí Bello - Connection Caracas-New York

Connection Caracas-New York

Alí Bello

Zoho Music - ZM201313

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

If Alí Bello sounds ridiculously accomplished on the violin, brimming over with talent, perspicacity, and sets of chops way beyond what his youth would normally bring, that's because he gained firm discipline under the El Sistema method within the National System of Youth Orchestras of Venezuela, an apprenticeship that included mentors like the esteemed Jose Antonio Abreu, world renowned for his Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. Bello then transferred to NYC and dove into just about every genre and modality he could find, joining in with jazzsters, rockers, middle-eastern cats, and so on, soon becoming one of the most sought-after violinists on the scene there.

Amare demonstrates just what that means, a cut incorporating gypsy, South American, jazz, and progressive strains forming and building until culminating in a nearly Mahavishnu Orchestra-like fusion of interlocking parts and hurtling speed. All the way through it, though, Bello's sound is pure and impressive, ever thinking on its feet even when alighting hither and yon like a zesty hummingbird. And Bello marshaled a set of accomplished session players who pace him every step of the way, saxist Javier Olivencia sounding like a Latino Hank Mobley. By the time they subtly catch you up in the growing fervor of the last section of Amare, you're on a bullet train heading for the lush Orinoco Delta.

Ali sprints past Jean-Luc Ponty and Didier Lockwood to catch up to Stephane Grapelli in his métier, but, yes, he definitely has the training of a classicalist; he merely chose to go elsewhere, and hoo boy!, was that ever the right decision. Despite the Olympian standards in the old hoary realm, there's no room there for improv, and Bello must've been chafing at the bit to cut loose, 'cause he never loses an opportunity to do so here while also giving tons of space to co-players. Mofongo cedes much territory, sparklingly so, pianist Luis Perdomo taking full Brubecky/Evansy advantage until the violin flies back in, in Sugarcane Harris fashion…and when was the last time you heard someone play like The Sugarcane?. Regardless, what's going to nail you is the flawlessness of Bello's technique no matter what phase he's in.

Track List:

  • Amare (Alí Bello)
  • In G (Alí Bello)
  • Kiss (Alí Bello)
  • Guajira (Pedro Cortes)
  • Mofongo (Kimson Plaut)
  • Cazon (Alí Bello)
  • Zapateao (Pedro Cortes)
  • Moliendo Cafe (Hugo Blanco)
  • Untraveled (Alí Bello)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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