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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Duende Libre


Review by Gary Hill

I knocked around the idea of landing this album under "progressive rock." We generally put fusion there. However, I don't really think this qualifies as fusion. Even if it does, it's not a fusion of rock and jazz, the reason we generally put fusion under prog is that the combination of rock and jazz really seems to be progressive rock. This might well be a fusion of jazz and classical (and perhaps some world music), but the jazz dominates. It's a killer disc with a number of great jazz tunes, but it's not fusion. There are some vocals here, but they are all non-lyrical and used more as extra instrumentation than anything else. All in all, if you like some great modern jazz, give this a try. You'll probably find yourself digging this.

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Track by Track Review
Piano brings this in, and the cut works out in a classical music meets jazz kind of way. It becomes a cool jazz jam. As it approaches the two minute mark some non-lyrical female vocals rise up, but still stay pretty far down in the mix. I really love some of the bass work on this piece, but everything about the piece is exceptional, really.

I love the killer jazz jam that makes up the title track. It comes in with a great style and groove and just starts to grow outward from there. I dig the first little percussion showcase section. The bass work that takes it from there is so cool. In fact, the bass really drives a lot of this number. Everyone really gets a chance to shine on this tune, though. In fact, there is a second, more extensive, segment where the percussion really shines near the end. A short mellow bit serves as the actual outro.

Piano starts this piece and holds it for a time. The cut works out after a time to a more full band treatment. This one also has some non-lyrical female vocals at points. It's an energized jazz jam that's so classy. They take it through several shifts as it makes its way forward. There is a killer extended bass solo section further down the musical road.
Some funky bass opens this, and we're off in style from there. This fast paced groove serves as an extended introduction. The cut drops to a sultry, mellower groove from there and works through in style. This thing works through so many changes, though. Different sections come, evolve and leave. The bass really shows off at various points. I particularly love some of the funk it brings.
The piano is the central element at the start of this cut. It brings both jazz and classical elements to bear. The piece works to more of a full band treatment as it continues. Again, the cut includes some bass work that's particularly noteworthy. There is a drop back late in the piece to just piano, but it evolves back upward from there.
I dig the killer jazz stylings on this number. It has a lot of energy and some exceptional instrumental work. There are some great melodies and textures built into this thing. The piano manages to paint some killer lines of sound as this exploration works through. Overall it's another effective hunk of jazz.
The piano begins this track, as it has a number of others, in a motif that's part classical and part jazz. The piece grows forward after a time into a killer jam that has some intriguing melodies. I dig the killer bass work later in this piece. The number is a tasty slab of jazz that works so well. This serves as a satisfying closer.
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