Sergio Pamies, Time to Say Review


Sergio Pamies, Time to Say Review

by Jeff Becker

Sergioi-Pamies-Jazz-Sensibilities-cdGranada-born pianist and composer Sergio Pamies brings a rich tapestry of cultural and musical influences to his fourth album, Time to Say. Known for seamlessly blending the traditional jazz language with the flamenco rhythms of his heritage, Pamies’ latest work is a testament to his exceptional talent for composition and lyrical playing. The eight-song album is an homage to jazz legends and personal connections, each track a nuanced conversation between the past and present brought to life by Pamies and his outstanding ensemble.

“Time to Say” features Dave Liebman on soprano saxophone, and this title track is a tribute to the late Chick Corea. Pamies channels Corea’s driving rhythmic style, incorporating Latin grooves, advanced harmonies, and syncopated rhythms. The piece opens with a floating melodic phrase, teasing the listener before resolving into a defined groove from Jimmy Macbride’s drums and Ricky Rodriguez’s bass as Samuel Torres’ percussion fills the spaces with energy. Pamies’ sophisticated soloing and Liebman’s improvisational finesse create a compelling dialogue that honors Corea’s legacy while asserting Pamies’ modern jazz sensibilities.

“Puerta de Oro,” named after the city of Barranquilla, Colombia, begins with intriguing harmony within a comping pattern. The horns enter with tight, parallel voicings, creating a lush soundscape. The three horns buzz with energy and accentuate the change in meter and groove, propelling the music into rhythmic overdrive and culminating in an adventurous horn soli. Michael Thomas’ saxophone solo provides a moment of tranquility before the ensemble reveals an Afro-Latin 6/8 groove. The ensemble seamlessly blends Latin and swing elements, leading to a dynamic and rhythmically appealing performance that is bound to make your toes tap.

“Sleep Delirium” is inspired by the essence of delirium through harmonic sonority and texture; this track juxtaposes a Latin groove with a floating melody. Percussionist Torres and drummer Macbride maintain a subtle groove, allowing the texture to shine. Rodriguez’s melodic bass line supports improvisations by trumpeter Alex Norris and saxophonist Michael Thomas, who stay true to the composition’s mood, creating an elegant and lively listening experience.

“Dudú,” based on the chord progression from “It’s You Or No One,” blends jazz with Afro-Cuban rhythms in tribute to New York City’s vibrant musical history. The 3-2 Rhumba clave and montuno bass pattern create an irresistible dance groove. Pamies’ orchestration for the three-horn section adds depth and excitement, making this piece a lively album highlight. His accompaniment is outstanding, showcasing his creativity in crafting montunos that are both interesting and true to tradition. Pamies’ solo is rhythmically energetic and joyful, weaving a story of tones and chords in harmonious delight.

“Último Rezo (para Carmen)” is dedicated to Pamies’ grandmother; this heartfelt composition reflects the love and affection she inspired. Norris and Thomas perform the melodies with sincere sentiment, while Pamies’ improvisation conveys deep emotional resonance. The track culminates in a touching statement of the melody by trombonist Marshall Gilkes, providing a poignant conclusion.

“Corazonada,” a tribute to Pamies’ late friend and bassist Jeff Eckels, imagines what Eckels would have enjoyed playing. The harmonic progression from Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” forms the backbone, with Rodriguez stepping into the role of the virtuoso bassist. His performance, punctuated by a quote from Henderson’s theme, showcases his impressive technical skill and profound musicality. Pamies’ interaction with Torres’ percussive ideas is outstanding, highlighting this track’s fluid and engaging rhythm section. Notably, this selection omits horns, allowing the rhythm section to shine and easily be heard and felt.

“Miold Man,” originally composed by Kenny Wheeler, is reimagined with a Latin groove. Pamies’ arrangement transforms Wheeler’s strong melody with interesting harmonic alterations. Gilkes’ trombone solo navigates these changes masterfully, while Norris’ melodic improvisation echoes Wheeler’s theme. The piece is a tribute to Pamies’ mentor, Stefan Karlsson, adding a personal touch to the album.

“Nana para Sergito” features a guest appearance by clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; this lullaby connects Pamies’ childhood memories with his current role as a father. Inspired by Roland Hanna’s “A Child Is Born,” the track is a tender, melodic piece that passes the legacy of music through generations. D’Rivera’s clarinet adds a warm, nostalgic quality, making it a unique gift for Pamies’ family and listeners alike.

Pamies’ ability to weave flamenco influences into traditional jazz is rooted in his deep understanding of both genres. With its complex rhythms and emotive melodies, Flamenco provides a rich palette for jazz improvisation. This fusion is evident throughout Time to Say, where Latin rhythms and jazz harmonies coexist seamlessly. His tribute to Chick Corea in the title track reflects Corea’s pioneering work in incorporating Latin influences into jazz, while “Dudú” pays homage to the Afro-Cuban roots of New York City’s jazz scene. These historical connections enrich the listening experience, offering a deeper appreciation of Pamies’ innovative approach.

Time to Say is a blend of cultural and musical influences, showcasing Pamies’ exceptional talent as a composer and performer. The album’s thoughtful compositions, skillful arrangements, and heartfelt tributes create a compelling narrative that resonates with listeners. Pamies’ ability to honor jazz traditions with his unique voice makes Time to Say a significant contribution to contemporary Latin jazz.

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