| September 2006
|CD review By John Ferrara|
Randal Corsen - Evolushon
“Shon Macai” (composed by Randal Corsen) is an up tempo piece with meter swapping (a 4/4 4/4 6/4 grouping with a brief 4/4 6/4 variance). It has a unison piano and bass line setting up the initial theme which goes from D dorian to C dorian. It then transitions to a contrasting section in 4/4 time in a “salsa Antiyana” relaxed groove in G. The improvisation is over the D and C dorian tonalities with Randal playing some brilliant passages, after which there is a switch back to the 4/4 romp in G.
“Rib’un Djajumingu”, another composition by Mr. Corsen, is a 6/4 entry that features David Sanchez on tenor. The theme opens with an A Phrygian sound in a hip Corsen arrangement played by a tight ensemble. There is a rhythmically and harmonically contrasting section which leads off with Fmaj7, Ebmaj, D-7 and a chord pattern which moves in unpredictable fashion. David Sanchez plays a powerful yet lyrical solo followed by Randal’s soaring improvisation.
“Ambishon”, taken at a slow languid tempo, features a lovely vocal by Izaline Calister on a composition by Emilio Prudencia. This track features an inventive and haunting solo by guitarist Leonardo Amuedo (he sneaks in some nice little bebop phrases) followed by Randal, and Ms. Calister taking the final bars to completion rubato. An Antillean standard by composer Barbaro Che, “Mi Djegedjege”, is performed in a trio setting with Pernell Saturnino on percussion (specifically the “wiri”). This is a very colorful performance which expresses the Antillean musical sound which is so distinct; great drum work here by Liber Torriente on an extended solo.
“No Bai” (translation “Don’t Go”) is a tune by Oswin Behilia who is one of Curacao’s most popular composers. The track is a duo performance featuring Ms. Calister and Randal which opens in rubato fashion and goes into a gentle waltz tempo with a 6/8 undercurrent.
“Evolushon”, the title track by Randal, brings back the quintet with David Sanchez. The theme is played over a “Tambu” style which is inherent to Curacao – a 6/4 rhythmic foundation here. Mr. Sanchez takes a dazzling inventive solo which exhibits a big tenor sound that is reminiscent of Coltrane. Mr. Corsen then takes an exploratory excursion with waves of sound. “Tanta Mery”, a folklore melody, is adapted and harmonized by the pianist in a ballad with a 6/8 feeling underneath. Eric Calmes takes a first rate bass solo followed by Randal. The pianist demonstrates a sensitive “Evans” touch on this piece.
“Costa Firme” is a veritable musical earthquake featuring the fantastic guitarist Leonardo Amuedo (could not think of a better adjective but that will suffice). I do not say that in a gratuitous or obligatory way but rather as a genuine evaluation of this musician’s ability. Both he and Randal really rip on their solos. Mr. Amuedo has an improvisational ability that is in the Pat Metheny tradition and one that hopefully the music world will have many more opportunities to hear.
The last piece, “Trinitaria”, in 5/4 with a waltz feel (3/4 2/4 sub-division) is an extended piano solo. Mr. Corsen composed and performed this piece to commemorate the recent passing of both his godmother and cousin. Trinitaria was his aunt’s favorite flower. The track balances the content on the CD with a parting sadness, at once uplifting and mournful. Interestingly, the melody came to Randal while he was driving. So as not to forget the tune, he parked his car, called his answering machine, and sang the melody.
This CD was released in 2003 and is Randal Corsen’s debut album. The recording is a solid entry in the latin-jazz arena; the depth of the musical content becomes even more apparent with each successive listening.