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Spotlight: Latin Journey, Kraft/Landry/Messina

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Latin Journey
Kraft/Landry/Messina
Neu Klang

A trio performance offers more than a chance to experience Latin Jazz in an intimate setting, it opens a door into each musicians artistic perspective. Each musicians instrument remains completely exposed throughout the performance, and every note makes a difference in the groups artistic progression. The choices that the musicians make during a performance push their colleagues into new directions, so these choices must carry artistic weight. Compositions become more than a simple combination of chords and melody; they evolve into a unique opportunity to showcase each individual musician in the trio. Every instruments role moves fluidly between spotlight and support, or interaction and introspection. A trio performance demands experience, knowledge, attentiveness and flexibility; a tall order only complicated by the stylistic demands of Latin music. Bassist Michael Kraft, drummer Daniel Messina, and pianist Dana Landry display a solid Latin Jazz trio concept on Latin Journey, an enthusiastic performance that moves the trio through a group of original songs and arrangements.

Kraft Shows Strength As A Composer

Kraft contributes the majority of the albums original compositions, exploring a variety of Latin influences. Landry opens Sea Dance with a joyful melody that glides across a samba foundation. Kraft builds variations upon the melody, until his ideas take priority in a strong statement. Landry spins clever lines that reflect the songs inherent melodic nature and driving rhythms. An aggressive minor montuno provides an opportunity for Messina to creatively fill around the groove on Baila Te! before he settles into a songo behind the melody. Landry matches the songs powerful momentum with an improvisation full of quick runs and interesting rhythmic ideas that reaches a dramatic climax. Kraft and Landry establish a series of hits that provide the framework for a virtuosic and artistically executed solo from Messina. Landry provides a mysterious harmonic setting on The Gift as Messina bends an Afro-Cuban 6/8 groove towards a shuffle with a pronounced backbeat. The flexible setting allows Landry to stretch phrases and imply a distinctly modern jazz approach in a powerful improvisation. The band leans back into the Afro-Cuban 6/8 with a steady groove as Messina explores the styles rhythmic possibilities. A funky partido alto flows beneath Landrys subtle blues melody on Hip. Kraft mixes assertive phrasing, strongly developed ideas, and a funky touch into an engaging improvisation. Landry takes his time developing his ideas, growing from short sly phrases into aggressive streams of notes. Kraft proves to be a strong composer, and his pieces provide a defined artistic shape to the album.

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This story appears courtesy of The Latin Jazz Corner by Chip Boaz.
Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

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