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07/01/2017
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Ida y Vuelta Maureen Choi Quartet (Bar Co)

A hint of Ravel’s Bolero floats through the start of Ida y Vuelta, the opening title cut on this sizzling sophomore release from violinist Maureen Choi’s quartet. The pace quickens as Choi and the band deftly add a Parisian hot-club verve to the flamenco framework. Violin and Daniel Garcia Diego’s piano ring true on this spirited opener and they continue to cook in the variety of Spanish-informed milieus that follow. While their classical training is much in evidence, technique is not an end in itself but a means to weave jazz into the music for a stellar trip filled with conversation. Bassist Mario Carrillo and drummer Michael Olivera ably move through multiple dance forms, which include familiar cha-chas, tangos and boleros as well as more esoteric Latin rhythms. Broadening the soundscape, Choi has elected to showcase ‘classics’ from a variety of Spanish folk traditions in addition to her own compositions; likewise, the traditional vocals first appearing on the richly textured “Valentía”, featuring Cuban pianist Pepe Rivero, allow Andrés Soto’s “Negra Presuntuosa” and Guillermo Fiffé’s “Bilongo” to retain their authenticity. The former is a passionate retelling of infatuation highlighted by emotive bass and pure violin while the latter maintains the original’s compelling spirit of obsessive love.The more intimate tunes are where Choi truly excels, beginning with her portrayal of both the jazzy and stately aspects of “Elizabeth”. “Alfonsina y el Mar”, the touching tribute to poet Alfonsina Storni written by Argentinian Ariel Ramirez, features Choi in a poignant duet with guest bassist Javier Colina while “Vals o Vienes” is an elegant chamber jazz mixture. Choi soars through a modern take on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol” before the quartet closes out the session with thoughtful reflection on the Chilean folk standard “Gracias a la Vida”.For more information, visit facebook.com/barcorecords. This project is at Terraza 7 Jul. 1st. See Calendar.