Novoa seems to have made a comfortable home for herself in Fresh Sound’s new talent roster and this is a good thing as her music, as played here by a quartet with things on its collective mind other than wanting the listener to know what accomplished musicians they are has identity and sounds well on the way to greater distinction.
That said, the emphasis on the reflective side of things might make some listeners yearn for something more vigorous. Certainly the studied formlessness of Big Moose Road only just manages to avoid slipping into the somnambulant before Davies breaks the music’s unruffled surface with a solo that never strays too far from the jazz-guitar canon as laid down by the likes of Farlow and Montgomery, while in her outing Novoa hints at those singing, ascending runs in the right hand that Paul Bley was a great exponent of.
203 is a study in quiet unease. Piano and bass periodically eke out the same line, but in a timeless section the quartet seems to collectively seek an accommodation with the silence before Novoa injects a sense of impetus both at odds with and complementary to the efforts of her bandmates. Indeed as the piece progresses the elements of impetus and stasis seem to become ever more essential in realising the collective vision.
If a title such as Interim Song suggests a strain of diffidence, the musical reality comes on as exemplary of a composer and a group that likes to take its time, which is more than welcome in these days when many self-proclaimed contemporary jazz musicians seem to regard hyperactivity as game-changing.
Three Nine Turner; Interim Song; Inefficient 39T; Satellite Earth; Big Moose Road; 203 (51.11)
Novoa (p); Rainer Davies (g); Kenneth Jimenez (b); Arturo Garcia (d). Florida, USA, February 2017.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 593