Catalan drummer David Viñolas is a musical omnivore. Merging his early Western classical education with…
Catalan drummer David Viñolas is a musical omnivore. Merging his early Western classical education with self-taught forays into various popular genres, Viñolas developed a unique and dynamic sound that is solidly based in mainstream jazz. The exciting 5et makes this quite apparent, as the drummer leads a quintet through six of his original compositions and three standards in a style reminiscent of the golden age of Blue Note Records.
Bassist Manel Fortià’s atmospheric intro kicks off the captivating “Manso’s Blues” in a soulful mood. Saxophonist Miguel Fernández launches into a warm, breezy solo that unfolds over the rhythm trio’s muscular vamps. Meanwhile, pianist Joan Monné’s crystalline chords emerge out of the restless backdrop and set the stage for trumpeter Pol Omedes’ burnished tones. Viñolas ushers in the closing head with his thundering kit.
The charming and mellifluous ballad “Enyor de les Teves Carícies” showcases Viñolas’ elegant brushes and the band’s gently swaying cadence. Omedes and Fernández embellish the main theme with laid-back swagger and reserved passion as they alternate turns in the spotlight. Fortià contributes a supremely lyrical extemporization while Monné and Viñolas punctuate it with lithe clusters of effervescent notes and beats.
One of the covers, pianist Thelonious Monk’s “Ruby My Dear,” opens with cinematic percussion and features the prodigious and youthful vocalist/trombonist Rita Payés, who sings with smoldering and sublime melancholy that belies her age. Switching to her horn, Payés builds an intelligent and spirited improvisation that fits perfectly with the ensemble’s wistful refrains.
With this highly engaging and enjoyable album, Viñolas has established himself as a consummate composer and bandleader. Although 5et doesn’t break new ground, it is well balanced with memorable melodies and thrilling spontaneity. Viñolas has created a delightful hard-bop work with a modern flair. — Hrayr Attarian