COUNTING BEATS

Reviews and Recommended Jazz by Nick Bewsey

Category: Alexis Cuadrado

Alexis Cuadrado, Poètica

The imaginative bassist Alexis Cuadrado revives spoken word jazz with modernist glee, enriching bebop forms, beat generation poetry and multi-lingual storytelling on the lively, compelling Poètica (Sunnyside). His musicians (keyboardist Andy Milne, guitarist Miles Okazaki and drummer Tyshawn Storey) and deeply invested vocalists turn words into rhythms that clamor, protest and even swing, much like Gil Scott-Heron did, while Cuadrado’s lucid bass ties it together by expertly fusing syncopation with emotive, improvisational flourishes. (13 tracks; 54 minutes)

ALEXIS CUADRADO, A LORCA LANDSCAPE

Ever inventive and searching, bassist Alexis Cuadrado fearlessly navigates crosscurrents of modern jazz, Latin and world music to underscore the relation between today’s economic disparities with those of the past on A Lorca Soundscape, based on Federico García Lorca’s poems about 1929 New York. Vocalist Claudia Acuña gives the poet’s words a robust and emotional reading that surge with feeling and an appreciated efficacy. But the heavy lift is accomplished by Cuadrado (along with a band of sharp-eared and extremely talented musicians) who gives resounding shape to the material by translating the fire and passion of Lorca’s language into a work that’s resonant and sonically engaging. Continue reading

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