Tito Carrillo, Urbanessence Review
by Jeff Becker
Tito Carrillo has released his second Origin Records album titled Urbanessence. Carrillo has composed nine originals and included an original from Phil Koceril. The trumpeter and composer mixes jazz, salsa, Latin jazz, gospel, blues, funk, and soul to form a magical blend of music he calls Urbanessence. The ensemble is Carrillo on trumpet; Troy Roberts, tenor, soprano saxophones; Ben Lewis, piano; Clark Sommers, bass; Jay Sawyer on drums and cymbals and Victor Gonzalez, Jr., congas.
“Fire & Ice” is a multi-faceted composition with feel changes, band hits, strong melodies, and intelligent use of dynamics. Carrillo and Roberts have a strong repour as the front-line, both players perform with lovely tones and power. Carrillo’s soloing is fluid as he builds his ideas out of the harmony. The ensemble communicates and generates a powerful performance. Roberts’ solo is a powerful display of technique, fitness, and motivic development. This ensemble is in sync and brings the composition to life magically.
“Crazy, Stupid Fine” opens with a funky bass line by Sommers. The head is memorable as the two horns snake their way through the form. The composition has many interesting harmonic twist, and the medium tempo allows for lots of rhythmic possibilities. Carrillo’s solo centers around building rhythmic patterns that forge the energy ahead in a controlled arching gorgeous design. Roberts’ lines dance with groove as each line is driven rhythmically to its mark. Roberts deftly commands his saxophone to provide a structured building solo with many textural undertones. Lewis’ effortless single notes combine with colorful voicings to bring us back to the head.
Urbanessence is a series of compositions enveloping the many styles that Carrillo’s life journey has captured his imagination. The music contained on the album probes beyond regular jazz routines to showcase a variety of intensities, rhythms, harmonic patterns, and textures, celebrating Carrillo’s blending of music to construct an Urbanessence power.