For his 33rd album as a leader, the pianist, flautist and composer Marcos Ariel has released an intimate and impressionistic solo session. The album consists of 10 pensive and delicate compositions, each named after a flower.
The third track is Bougainvillea, the name of a plant native to Brazil and Southern California which holds great significance for Ariel, whose mother favoured this flower. The composition takes the form of a light waltz which helps convey the memories of a cherished childhood. All 10 pieces maintain a sensitive and calm ambience, the sixth track, Lavender especially so, mirroring the tranquility associated with that plant.
For something improvised, one can turn to the eighth track Fuchsia. Made up of gently pulsing chords and a rising and falling melody, it sustains the album’s serenity.
While flowers might not be the first thing one associates with jazz, Ariel certainly includes many jazz-inspired harmonies throughout Piano Blossoms, and his skilful and virtuosic piano-playing is reminiscent of many great jazz pianists. Here, he has merely confined these to a very particular character and tone, which is very refreshing.
Passionflower; Narcissus; Bougainvillea; Plumeria; Lantana; Lavender; Chrysanthemum; Fuchsia; Orchid; Calla Lily (42.29)
Ariel (p). Studio Up, Rio de Janeiro, 2021.
Moondo Records MDO-2014