By: Edward Blanco
A well-travelled person who ventures beyond his home country, garners a wealth of experience having the benefit of exploring the different cultures, life styles and yes, music of the world. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, pianist Gabriel Palatchi decided to pack up his bags after graduation in 2008 to trek through the Americas, Mexico and Cuba and expand his musical studies with firsthand experience. Palatchi draws from his travels to produce his first solo album, Diario de Viaje (Travel Diary) and reflects on this accomplishment by writing in the album liner notes “This CD is a melting pot of my life’s experience to date.”
This sterling debut documents a musical journey embracing elements of Argentinian tango, funk, Afro-Cuban rhythms and a touch of “other” strains—all wrapped up into an interesting set of Latin jazz. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, Palatchi settles on a ten-piece repertoire after culling musical arrangements from over 20 accomplished musicians from Latin America. Recorded in Mexico City, the Palatchi Band for this project was formed in 2010 comprised of Mexican and Cuban musicians and has since morphed into a truly international group with current players hailing from Canada, France, England, Russia and Spain among other countries.
The first-rate ensemble kick-starts the music with the brisk Afro-Cuban rhythms of “El Paisa” as Beny Swartz’s playful violin and Camilo Nu’s Spanish guitar mark the second track with a decidedly Spanish/World flavor in one of the standout pieces of the set. The Argentinian influence comes shining through on the tango-tinged “Tansongo” with the help of vocals from Gabriela Rivera. Other vocalist on the track include El “Roli” and “Bulmaro Borja”. “Chilangotango” is the other tango-influenced arrangement featuring Rafael Perez on the Bandoneon. Palatchi includes an unusual chart with a touch of the electronica sound on “Electroshock,” though retaining an undertow of the Latin rhythm, it’s a sign this band leader does not mind introducing something new to a generally Latin jazz genre project.
Perhaps the defining piece of the session is “Por Vos,” the fourth track that features the more than appreciable chops of the talented pianist, tasteful solos from flautist El “Bola,” delicate contributions from the percussionist and a brief interlude from alto saxophonist Gerry Lopez. With reimagined folk songs, a taste of tango, a touch fusion and electronica sounds among the groves of Afro-Cuban/Latin rhythms in the mix, Diario de Viaje is an unconventional Latin jazz projects that actually works quite well here. Pianist Gabriel Palatchi provides a worldly perspective on the traditional Latin jazz sound and with this impressive debut, stakes his claim as one of the new young lions of Latin jazz.
Year: 2010 Label: Self-Produced Artist Web: www.gabrielpalatchi.com