Bar code: 8427328422680
Sideman of Miguel Zenon and music teacher, Luis Rodriguez is a young saxophonist from Bayamón, Puerto Rico. In 1997 at age 18 he won a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. He finally moved to Boston in 1998. He made his debuts with his own group during the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest 2005.
U-Turn is the debut album for Luis Rodríguez. It features 9 tracks that consist of 8 original compositions and one arrangement of one of the movements of Mussorgskys "Pictures at an Exhibition". Luis uses the foundations of an acoustic Jazz group to incorporate different influences from soul, funk and rock to folk rhythms from his country.
Rodríguezs compositions create a trail in which the improviser can freely decide how to walk through it. Luis has the ability to integrate complex ideas and concepts seamlessly in a very organic and natural way. The result is music innovative and accessible without sacrificing substance and musicianship.
Add Luis Rodriguez to the growing list of impressive sax players from Puerto Rico. His strong debut U-Turn features an acoustic ensemble with modern ideas and both folkloric and urban elements. With a deep velvety tone on tenor and silkiness on soprano, Rodriguez's smooth control is reminiscent of contemporaries like Ravi Coltrane and Marcus Strickland. He's surrounded by a strong ensemble, including rising stars pianist Luis Perdomo and saxophonist Miguel Zenon.
The title track opens with an ancestral-like call from Rodriguezs hoarse tenor, then develops into a mellow groove with engaged solos and flowing rhythms. Theres a nice contrast between Rodriguezs deep timbre and Zenons piercing alto on Gnomus as the compositions sections separate and reunite. Other bright moments include the relaxed modal Big Bad Blues, and the gorgeous Amistad Perfumada, which features a nice spot from bassist Ramon Vazquez along with Rodriguezs whispering soprano. Another fine debut from a promising artist.
Mark F. Turner
All About Jazz
Heres yet another young Puerto Rican musician with a very special talent. A Berklee graduate who was originally with the same teacher as his fellow countrymen David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon (who guests on two tracks), Rodriguez considers himself first and foremost a composer. He believes in total spontaneity and only one song (Gnomus, the sole none Rodriguez composition) has any actual arrabgement.
The others are based on various vamp sections mixed in with rhythms, which often emanate from Puerto Rican folklore. Every one of his songs has unexpected little twists and turns. In fact, the title track gets its name when it switches from almost a rock groove to a very gentle bomba beat. Rodriguez closing ballad is really beautiful. As a player, his tenor sound is soft but passionate (maybe somewhat Shorterish at times, at others vaguely reminiscent of Mark Turner), with his soprano possibly even stronger. The rhythm section is as empathetic as he could possibly have wished for. Perdomo is very supportive and never a scene-stealer, while Vazquez and Martinez play with such feeling and professionalism, theyre bound to be heard again and often. An excellent debut. Recommended to all open-minded young saxophonists/composers.