Albert Vila – The Unquiet Sky

the unquiet sky(Fresh Sound New Talent)

The Spanish guitarist recorded this album in Brooklyn and if you don’t know his name, you might know his band mates: pianist Aaron Parks, drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Doug Weiss.

The album title comes from Edgar Allan Poe – “I have no time for idle cares/Through gazing on the unquiet sky” – and there is a feeling of searching for the bigger, more complicated picture in the music.

It opens with a virtuoso solo introduction showing Vila’s clear, rounded, bell-like tone, before the band comes in. It’s a busy song with space for Parks to stretch out before he hands over to Vila. This easy passing back and forth between the instruments is a hallmark of the album as a whole, with New DealThe Bean and Minor Tragedy being prime examples.

Air is one of my favourites – a slower piece with Vila winding out a long-legged poignant theme before letting Weiss take over, then the guitarist lays out a solo of increasing optimism against a more propulsive groove. Gym Jam has a beautifully handled tension and release in its structure, and Vila’s solo is a delight.

There are a few short linking pieces between the longer tracks which act a bit like palate cleansers between the more substantial courses of a meal – the overall effect is to give the album a good, varied flow.

A most satisfying listen.

Categories: CD review

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