Publication: All About Jazz
Author: Elliott Simon
There is a hopefulness borne out of the continued crystallization of pianist Joey Calderazzo’s sense of his artistic self on Amanecer. Compositionally and musically, the session is a potpourri. Reworked pieces that date to his associations with saxophonists Michael Brecker and Branford Marsalis along with new originals are presented in solo, duo and trio formats.
Artistically, there is clearly a developmental process at work here; Calderazzo reaches back to the roots of his craft to extend his range while also broadening his scope to include bossa/samba for stylistic synergy. Calderazzo’s touch is quite graceful and he is able to coax a range of emotions from these varied compositions. The first third of the CD is devoted to solo piano reprises with “Midnight Voyager” imbued with stride traits, “Toonay” given a classical turn and an ethereal version of Brecker’s “Sea Glass.”
The title cut features Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo—a delicate trio depiction of dawn. Acuña’s voice is striking and she possesses a superb sense of pitch that allows her to harmonize as a third instrument. Her duet with Calderazzo on their joint composition “So Many Moons” is a divine meeting. “The Lonely Swan”—dating from the Marsalis days—is turned Latin courtesy of Lubambo; Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debby” is reworked into a tentative trip that emphasizes the innocence of the original and closer “Lara” brings the trio together for another lovely statement. Here, Acuña again shines as her lyric-less vocal paradoxically infuses the melody with a wonderful lyricism. Analytics aside, Amanecer is a beautifully textured session that delights with its warm feel and luxurious flow.