Eva Novoa (p), Rainer Davies (g), Kenneth Jimenez (b), Arturo Garcia (d)
Bar code: 8427328435932
Eva Novoa’s Satellite Quartet launches itself into the musical stratosphere with this distinctive session, which shows off the group’s multi-leveled rhythmic interplay, hypermodern lyricism, and its penchant for surprise. Recorded only 2 hours away from Cape Canaveral, this project defies gravity in search of new worlds of expression.
Three Nine Turner begins with a search party that finds what it’s after… Arturo Garcia’s drumming propels things magically, inspiring both Rainer Davies and Kenneth Jimenez to explore parallel universes. Centrifugal force holds the group together as Eva leads the way, somehow winding up in a Shearingesque exploration of block chording. This eventually gives way to a plump extrapolation from bassist Jimenez, eventually setting down on terra firma with a contemplative segment of Davies’ guitar evoking the Spaghetti West. Don’t quite know how we got here, but it all seems right and somehow inevitable.
Interim Song eventually shows off Eva’s rhythmically organic bluesiness after emerging from an atmospheric opening statement, and several episodes of gradually increasing intensity. Effortless slow-motion propulsion is on display here.
Inefficient 39T features one of the most interesting 2 feels you’ll ever hear, a riveting solo from Garcia, and an abundance of conversant grooving.
Satellite Earth seeks to break the bonds of gravity, as the melody climbs and pushes against the upper atmosphere, only to return inevitably to the ground. Still, it’s all about the journey, not the destination… Davies’ percussive solo feeds the groove until Novoa launches herself upward and outward. Jimenez provides the irresistible gravitational force as if his spot is one long exhalation that reacclimatizes the quartet to ground zero. Plenty of burly sophistication here.
Big Moose Road unfurls into relaxed open space. The band’s interaction is offhanded, intimate, welcoming, and seamless. How it is that the melody and harmony seem to be born from each other is a wonder.
203 ends this original, distinctive session with slow motion pixelation. Is there a word for this unique language? If so, I’ve not found one that captures its essence.
I’m very aware that music as personal, spontaneous, and unique as this should be heard and maybe not written about. So please give Eva Novoa’s Satellite Quartet your undivided attention. They deserve it. This music demands it.
—Drew Gress, New York, November 2019 (From the inside liner notes)
"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."
Nic Jones (May 12, 2020)
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