If I said Florencia Gonzalez plays and composes with a more distinctly feminine hand, would you brand me a masculinist bastard? How 'bout if I mentioned that the proof lies in the overwhelmingly Romantic nature of borders being peeled back while investing the length of each cut with decidedly Classicalist and Impressionist surfeit, not just Ravel and Debussy but also Gershwin and Joplin (think Treemonisha for the latter) shaking hands with neoclassical chamber insertions, sometimes not all that unlike what the Art Bears ('member Lindsay Cooper and Dagmar?) and others demonstrated, maybe even some Penguin Cafe Orchestra here and there…minus the English humor, of course. That's right, Between Loves, despite its camouflaging bittersweet hearts and flowers title, is extremely intellectually progressive, its roots lying in shifting pre-Impressionism flowing backwards a few steps into its own Romantic roots. I think only a fool would deny that both those movements spelt the influx of the feminine principal into the near-totally male domain of dominantly classical priggishness…even, um, if males were the ones putting ink to the staves and measures on the advent of transmogification. Are you with me now or did I lose ya? No matter, once you listen, all becomes clear.
The crew tenor saxist Gonzalez recruited for Between Loves is exceptionally sensitive to what's going on, turning in mellifluously spectacular performances with extremely subtle permutations, Fernando Huergo a particularly notable presence in his bass work (which, believe it or not, reminds me much of Airto Moreira's percussionistics), whether playing it straight or raveling his line and tackle deep into pools and pockets. All and sundry, however, strive mightily to embody exuberance, individualistic perception, and baseline compatibility. Weird Pericon carries Art Ensemble/Lester Bowie sensibilities and explications (Les dug the South of the border stuff too, y'all) whereas The One Who Never Was early layers itself quite complicatedly, pianist Luis Perdomo going gracefully nuts right after, before everyone else steps in to strip down and extend the riffs.
Florencia is exceptionally generous with the parsing of solos, sections, and standouts, each cut a rotating bill of goods. Her work is so congruous with everything that's going on that you almost miss her soft-toned groove lines and frequent self-effacements for the soma they induce, caught up before you even know it in the gentle hedonisms, more than once mindful of John Klemmer at his Barefoot Ballet zenith but with an almost whimsical covert playfulness and willingness to take the path neglected. As I've mentioned with many Zoho artists, the center is always the song, the chops placing a narrowly beaten out second place, and if the label ever decides to go the old Ogun / Japo / etc. way, be careful, as your CD player will probably split in half from the intensity of what its roster would summon up. That was as to-the-side notable with Leo Brouwer (Bealerianas [here]) and Pablo Ziegler (Amsterdam Meets New Tango [here]) as it is with Florencia Gonzalez. The three are a part of a so far not quite cognized New Renaissance rising up and long overdue, so much so that it has emerged fully ripened rather than as sets of essays towards something just over the horizon. What I'm saying is: it's already here, it's started, and you're invited to get on the ground floor for a third time with Between Loves. Don't wait too long. The rest of us are impatient.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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