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  Edsel Gomez
Road to Udaipur

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Release Date: May 12, 2015
Selection #: ZM 201505
UPC Code: 880956150529
Availability: Worldwide
 
Track Listing: Personnel:
1. TERTULIA SAMBA 3:07


2. UDAIPUR 2:40


3. HOMESICK NOSTALGIA 4:37


4. SEARCH AND BUILD 3:30


5. NINIBILO MAJULOLO AND THE BRIDGE. 5:23


6. FOUR SEASONS AND A FIVE 4:35


7. SPAIN-ISHED CUBES (FOR CHICK COREA) 4:23
  8. ON SECOND THOUGHTS 3:37


9. CHARLES CHAPLIN 4:04


10. SMILE ON 3:56


11. BAHIA 4:38


12. BROTHERS


13. THE CHANT 4:4

Edsel Gómez piano, miscellaneous percussion (clave, timbales, hand drill, stone filled bucket, bells, clave)

Bruce Cox Drums

Fabio Tagliaferi Viola

Roberto Pitre Vazquez Flute, Piccolo, vocals

Walmir Gil, Naor Gomes Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Felix Gibbons Congas, speech

Edu Martins, Alex Apolo Ayala Acoustic Bass

Sizâo Machado, Arismar do Espírito Electric Bass

Roberta Valente Pandeiro, Triangle

Chacalzinho Pandeiro, Berimbao, Udu, Triangle

Tuto Ferraz, Douglas Alonso - Drums

Freddie Bryant Acoustic Guitar

Cássio Ferreira Alto Sax

Felipe Lamoglia Tenor sax

Roberto Araujo oboe
It has been nine years since the accomplished pianist-composer Edsel Gómez released his Grammy-nominated Stateside debut as a leader, Cubist Music. Since then he’s been busy touring and recording with Dee Dee Bridgewater, The Manhattan Transfer and others. But inspiration has been bubbling up inside the Puerto Rican-born artist, who has resided in New York City since 1997. With the release of Road to Udaipur, Gómez has delivered another extraordinary concept album marked by elegance, harmonic sophistication, rhythmic ingenuity and a profound sense of gratitude to the towering influences of Eddie Palmieri and Chick Corea.

“I met Chick Corea when I was blessed with the honor of being chosen to perform two concerts with him at the closing event of his residency at Berklee College in 1985,” says Gómez. “Since then he became a mentor to me and a most beloved musical and life role model. His influence, like master Eddie Palmieri’s, is huge in my unending life-long musical journey."

The Corea influence can be readily heard on the lilting trio number Four Seasons and a Five which carries a brief, subtle allusion to Return To Forever’s “No Mystery” from Where Have I Known You Before, and also on Spain-ished Cubes which is Gómez ’ Cubist take on the Corea classic, “Spain.” The Palmieri effect is in evidence on the driving, intense salsa number Search and Build as well as on the dynamic Bahia.

The opening track, Tertulia Samba, is a samba version of a Gómez composition, “Tertulia,” which was originally performed as an Afro-Caribbean groove. Brazil’s premier electric bassist Arismar Do Espirito Santo holds down the insistent groove alongside Douglas Alonso’s drums and Brazilian Roberta Valente’s pandeiro work. The young Brazilian alto sax player Cassio Ferreira is also prominently featured on this energized opener.

The intense title track Road to Udaipur shifts moods from an Indian-flavored raga, underscored by Alex “Apolo” Ayala’s rugged slapping on the upright bass in tandem with Bruce Cox’s slamming backbeat, to more open-ended jazzy excursions. Gómez flaunts his considerable chops on this trio number named for the romantic and fantastical city in Rajastan, India. As the composer explains, “For the celebration of my 50th birthday I went on a pilgrimage, alone, to India. On the day of my 50th birthday I was in the city of Varanasi, India’s holiest city, as a way for me to thank God for reaching 50. I was raised as a Methodist Christian and consider myself an open-minded Christian, not a practitioner of any Indian religion in particular; rather, I respect spiritual teachings from all religions and strongly feel the connection between spirituality and music, and I always wanted to learn about Indian music as well.

It was during this pilgrimage that I arrived at the city of Udaipur and found music I could relate to and study, then stayed for a while there studying tabla and Indian classical music. This composition is inspired by the experience of that time spent in India and my studies there while in Udaipur. So ‘Road to Udaipur’ is an analogy to my life in music that eventually led me to the musical/spiritual pilgrimage in India.”

On the peaceful trio meditation Homesick Nostalgia, Gómez muses about his homeland. “Being out of Puerto Rico since the age of 17 in the pursuit of musical education and the dream of developing a career as professional musician, I had to learn to overcome the nostalgic feelings of being abroad from an early age. The feelings of missing the family and friends and language and culture is an everlasting nostalgia, we learn to live with. This composition intends to reflect that feeling.”

The aforementioned Search and Build, a clever twist on the phrase ‘search and destroy’ generally associated with missions of war, is a smoking descarga featuring Cuban tenor saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia and trumpeter Nahor Gomes blowing over a son montuno pulse.

The catchy trio number Ninibilo Majulolo and The Bridge is a grooving and melodic feature for Arismar Do Espirito Santo, whose fretless electric bass playing here is positively Jaco-esque.

Four Seasons and a Five travels through four moods and concludes with at 5/4 section that has drummer Cox erupting on his kit. And Spain-ished Cubes is a deconstruction and re-assembly, Picasso style, of Corea’s most famous composition. “This was written for the opening of week-long Chick Corea Festival at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2013,” Gómez explains. “Chick asked me to perform my Cubist music to open the festival and I wrote this to be a tribute to him to be performed with my sextet. For the recording I called on the great guitarist Freddie Bryant, who brought an even more Spanish flavor to the composition originally written for woodwind ensemble.”

On the peaceful trio meditation Homesick Nostalgia, Gómez muses about his homeland. “Being out of Puerto Rico since the age of 17 in the pursuit of musical education and the dream of developing a career as professional musician, I had to learn to overcome the nostalgic feelings of being abroad from an early age. The feelings of missing the family and friends and language and culture is an everlasting nostalgia, we learn to live with. This composition intends to reflect that feeling.”

The aforementioned Search and Build, a clever twist on the phrase ‘search and destroy’ generally associated with missions of war, is a smoking descarga featuring Cuban tenor saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia and trumpeter Nahor Gomes blowing over a son montuno pulse.

The catchy trio number Ninibilo Majulolo and The Bridge is a grooving and melodic feature for Arismar Do Espirito Santo, whose fretless electric bass playing here is positively Jaco-esque.

Four Seasons and a Five travels through four moods and concludes with at 5/4 section that has drummer Cox erupting on his kit. And Spain-ished Cubes is a deconstruction and re-assembly, Picasso style, of Corea’s most famous composition. “This was written for the opening of week-long Chick Corea Festival at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2013,” Gómez explains. “Chick asked me to perform my Cubist music to open the festival and I wrote this to be a tribute to him to be performed with my sextet. For the recording I called on the great guitarist Freddie Bryant, who brought an even more Spanish flavor to the composition originally written for woodwind ensemble.”

On Second Thoughts, which features the Panamanian classical flutist Roberto Pitre Vazquez, the Brazilian flugelhorn player Walmir Gil and the great Brazilian percussionist Chacazinho on berimbau, explores extended harmonies by emphasizing ‘wrong’ notes that function as extended harmonic tensions. “It has many influences, including Bud Powell, Eddie Palmieri and Hermeto Pascoal and it draws from Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian traditional grooves and incorporates experimental and futuristic elements,” says the pianist, who also plays electric hand drill and stone filled plastic buckets on the adventurous piece.

Edsel’s tribute to the great silent film star Charles Chaplin is alternately whimsical and melancholic while incorporating playful motifs (particularly in the eccentric scatting and coughing by flutist Vazquez) along the way that one might associate with The Little Tramp. “Charles Chaplin’s work, to me, reaches the highest goal of artistry,” says the composer. “The sublime and utmost purpose of art itself as I perceive it, which is to make people happy, is masterfully accomplished in Chaplin’s work. This is just a humble tribute to him.”

Smile On is a good-feeling groover underscored by Cox’s backbeat and featuring an outstanding solo by upright bassist Ayala. Bahia is inspired by the music of the North of Brazil and the composer’s feelings while touring with Brazilian traditional music bands over this region of the country. On this intricate number, which includes flutist Vasquez, flugelhornist Gil and classical viola player Fabio Tagliaferri from the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Gómez employs dissonance and a rolling keyboard technique that recalls the late, great pianist Don Pullen, another significant piano influence on Edsel.

Brothers, a beautiful ballad that highlights the interactive quality of the Gomez-Ayala-Cox trio, is a piece the Edsel wrote at his brother’s home in Puerto Rico. “I left PR at age 17 fresh out of high school and moved to Boston to study at Berklee. A few years after I moved, my old piano finally collapsed to termites and there was no piano at my parents’ home for many years. One of my brothers has one in his home, so one time while visiting my family in PR, I went to his home to practice and wrote this piece inspired by the peace and harmonious environment I felt there.”

The collection concludes with a guajira groover in 3/4 time entitled The Chant, which features the robust tenor work of Lamoglia and another strong solo from Vazquez, this time on piccolo flute.

“If I had to name an overall concept for this album it would be the All Inclusive Musical Brotherhood,” says Gómez. “Throughout my life in music I have been blessed to visit and reside among and be exposed to several different cultures all around the world, and have always strived to make new friends my brothers and share positive energy as I learn about the different cultures and musical traditions of every place I’ve ever visited, as well as sharing about my own culture and music from my homeland. My mission will always be to search and build bonds of brotherhood as a musical warrior of love and positive energy wherever I go, sharing my musical vision and learning about other cultures and musical traditions and respecting them all as equal.”

-- Bill Milkowski

Chris Gilroy: Recording engineer, tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12. Helio Kazuo Ishitani – Recording engineer, tracks 1, 5.Tom Lazarus: Mixing engineer, tracks 1 - 3, 6, 7, 12. Ivo Barreto: Recording engineer and Mixing, tracks 4, 8, 9, 11, 13. Recorded at Lofish Studios, New York City, July-August, 2014. Additional recording at Giba Favery Studios, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mixed by Tom Lazarus at Stadium Red Studios, NYC. Mastered by Tom Lazarus at Classic Sound Studios, NYC. Producer: Edsel Gómez. CD cover art by Nivea Ortiz based on photo by Jun Michael Park. Additional photography by Jun Michael Park. Package design: Jack Frisch. Executive producers: Julio Gómez Rentas and Joachim "Jochen" Becker.
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