I don’t wish to idly boast but I’m rarely bamboozled by an album, so this is something of a rarity. The music ranges far and wide, indeed so far and widely enough to suggest a group that, if an unkind view is taken, shows a marked inability to focus. A kinder view might regard the music as a shop window through which the group wants to display the whole range of its wares. If the latter is the intention, then this is a risky strategy because the attempt at all trades can result merely in the dissipation of energy.
So the restrained galumphing of Precious Metals In Exchange For Contaminated Water has the menace which is an integral part of the Belgian bands Univers Zero and Present before it breaks down into a semi-free episode only for the menace to return, albeit in a slightly more disrupted fashion.
Celano’s unaccompanied work at the outset of Fiction And Reality faintly evokes a player such as Olaf Rupp and so has the effect of distancing it from the track referred to above, not least because with the entry of the rest of the group I sensed a break so fundamental with what had gone before that the impression of discontinuity was reinforced, and all within the duration of a single track.
On a practical level Los Andes summons up the spirit of John Abercrombie, albeit with more self-conscious rigour and lack of subtlety. As he shows here, Celano’s capable of eloquence in the area of post-bop impressionism, but as it is the piece breaks down into a bass solo which again seems at odds with what has immediately preceded it, for all of Celano’s deft backing. The effect of a kind of fracture is achieved again with what comes after that solo, which in essence is an elongated “outro”.
Milonga En Temperley achieves a unity of mood, but all my cloth ear can pick out is a kind of calculated archness, as if the band felt the need for a little restraint and an overt display of unity of purpose. The track does stand out within the context of the programme it’s part of, but I found the overall discontinuity more than a little taxing.
Find out more about Guillermo Celano Quartet: Fiction And Reality at guillermocelano.com
Los Andes; Desire And Expectation; Precious Metals In Exchange For Contaminated Water; Landscape; Peru; Fiction And Reality; Milonga En Temperley; Victor Alexander Dupee (44.09)
Celano (g); Folkert Oosterbeek (p); Clemens van der Feen (b); Flin van Hemmen (d, v) Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 2019.
Trytone TT 589-082