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Filiu, Roman: Musae

Roman Filiu is a Cuban born jazz musician who has recently released his second album Musae. Joining Roman are fellow Cubans Reinier Elizarde (bass), Dafnis Prieto (drums) and David Virelles (piano) and Americans Adam Rogers (guitars) and Marcus Gilmore (drums).

What struck me upon my first listen was the instrumental prowess of these six musicians. Great playing all around and the solos are excellent. Each band member is integral to the overall sound as each gives the album their own personal flair. The songs are a mixture of composition and improvisation which brings me to my next point. The melding of melody with improvisation is very impressive. This is an adventurous, contemporary jazz album that is quite easy to listen to and while the playing may seem hap hazardous at times, there is method behind their madness. There is a lot going on here but never is it at the expense of the album's musicality.

The opening "Summer Song" is a case in point. Liquid guitar solos and sultry sax make room for Virelles' off kilter piano chords . The drumming is complex but not unnecessarily so and the song's melody is kept intact. After a rapid fire start the compelling "Dark Room" slows it down just a bit. It is a vibrant, complex track with the drum work being particularly striking.

Next is "Episode 1: Riding Waves" the first of three shorter interludes that as a whole seem a little under developed. That especially holds true for "Episode II: Rebellion" featuring squelching bursts of sax against a composed piano line. The song just wasn't given enough time to live up to its full potential.

In the back half of the album there are some real stand out tracks including "El Ñanga", a very creative piece featuring inspired drumming and sax play and the playful "La Montana" where Prieto drums up a storm of the utmost complexity.

The playing throughout Musae is both creative and vibrant with all the band members working like a well-oiled machine. It is an excellent album which should be mandatory listening for any self-respecting fan of jazz. Released on Dafnison Music.

Track Listing:
1. Summer Song
2. Dark Room
3. Episode I: Riding Waves
4. Ojos
5. Episode II: Rebellion
6. Guerilla
7. Episode III: The Fall
8. Ocho De Mayo
9. El Ñanga
10. La Montana
11. Venus
12. La Montana (Excerpt)

Added: January 26th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's MySpace Page
Hits: 1986
Language: english

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