Tuesday , June 18 2024
Dimitri Landrain – Astor's Place

Jazz Reviews: Dimitri Landrain Sets Up on ‘Astor’s Place’; Albare Celebrates ‘Freedom’

Dimitri Landrain Trio, Astor’s Place

Sophistication and charm hold equal prominence in Astor’s Place from pianist Dimitri Landrain and his trio. Full of harmonic subtleties, suggestive moods, and deep grooves, these nine original Landrain compositions shine with craft and reflect the international influences Landrain has absorbed in his travels.

From the Astor Piazzolla tribute title track with its tango bump, and the smoky miniature samba “Entangled,” to the soft balladry of “Lovers in the Rain” and the gentle romance of “De Buen Tono,” Landrain, bassist Jim Robertson, and drummer Keith Balla play with unflashy virtuosity and easy interplay.

Latin influences predominate, but this isn’t a Latin-jazz set; Landrain casts a wider net, over jazz and the jazz-adjacent. The album closes with an airy homage to the Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington canon.

The top track for me, though, is “O Carnaval,” an infectious samba tune that one can hardly believe no one had already written. That’s how good a composer Landrain is, and he and his trio put across the numbers with funky high spirits and truly extraordinary finesse.

Astor’s Place is available now from Zoho Music.

Albare & Co, Freedom

Latin grooves also power this 2022 release from Israeli-born guitarist Albare. Freedom is an all-original set of jazz, mostly of the smooth variety, with influences from Jobim to Wes Montgomery percolating through 10 easygoing tracks. The tunes rely on simple riffs supported by subtly intricate rhythms, interspersed with guitar solos so relaxed I pictured Albare and his group floating by on a cloud. It can be tricky to sustain jazzy energy with this kind of vibe; Albare, fresh off two Jobim tribute albums, is a master of this craft.

Ada Rovatti contributes sparkling sax and Randy Brecker drops in some very tasty solos on trumpet and flugelhorn. But the album belongs to Albare, pianist Phil Turcio (who contributes on the writing side as well), and the tight (and triple-x) rhythm section of Phil Rex and Felix Bloxom.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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