Roman Filiu (as), Jerome Sabbagh (ts), Marta Sánchez (p), Rick Rosato (b), Daniel Dor (d)
Bar code: 8427328435338
"Raised in Madrid, the Spanish pianist and composer Sánchez moved to New York in 2011. Her previous Fresh Sound release, the 2015 Partenika, had a sleeve-note from Ethan Iverson and garnered praise for its left-field approach to group dynamics and structure. Excellent players, the Cuban Filiu and the French Sabbagh are retained from Partenika, and continue to evince a special understanding within the lucid yet subtly shifting frameworks supplied by Sánchez - who wrote all the material - and the equally impressive Rosato and Dor. Everyone in this extremely well-attuned group can burn when needed, but also reveal a heartening capacity for lyrical motivic development and reflective dynamic shading (for the last, hear, e.g., Scillar).
Sánchez displays a fine touch, astute rhythmic flexibility and a refreshing conceptual vivacity. She sees her work in terms of the flow of free counterpoint rather than harmony in any traditional sense and the voicings here can recall avant-garde classical ideas of “sound-colour-melody”, spread both spaciously and incisively across and around the quintet. In a useful sleevenote, critic Ben Ratliff draws attention to the conservatory-trained Spaniard's early appreciation of Brad Mehldau, while Sánchez herself, speaking of Nebulosa, says, “It's not really free, but it's rubato - we go through changes and through the form, but not in time. Sort of like a Paul Motian vibe".
I found this a beautiful, endlessly compelling album, as intelligent as it is lyrical, melting and melding forms and feelings to consistently arresting effect. Hear, e.g., Copa De Luz, Danza Imposible and Board - the last an especially enticing piece, the initial poise of its now deliciously suspended, now nudging accents opening out into some potent and propulsive grooves from Sánchez, Rosato and Dor."
Jazz Journal (December, 2017)
"Dovetailing lines, capering rhythms, and colorful harmonies rise to the surface and coalesce on pianist Marta Sánchez's 'Danza Imposible'. Just don't expect them to arrive in predictable fashion. Instead of taking the obvious pathways through or directly to an idea, Sánchez paves byways and discovers wormholes that prove far more interesting and meaningful as travel routes. Some of her writing is built around the idea of problem-solving, concept-making or code-breaking, and all of her music has strong conceptual footing, but the end results sound wholly organic rather than academic or contrived.
In returning to the quintet format that she utilized on Partenika (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2015), Sánchez is able to further her divergent explorations in bonding voices, blurring lines, and breaking free of norms. Braided saxophones move over a glistening backdrop on "Copa De Luz," a vehicle designed as an exploration in nine and a work taking inspirational cues from sources as different as bassist Eric Revis's In Memory Of Things Yet Seen (Clean Feed Records, 2014) and Tune-Yards' "Look Around"; "Danza Imposible" brings Aphex Twin's dizzying digital delay ideals into an acoustic realm, using staggered saxophone entrances to create a blurred reaction before opening up space on the canvas for solos; a peculiar beauty beckons on "Scillar," a texture piece originally penned for a band without bottom-end bolstering; and the chic "El Girasol" gives off gracefully streaming movements and broken thoughts in seven. This is music that's completely in keeping with Sánchez's previous work, yet these songs tend to probe a bit deeper and project darker and more complex shadows.
The album's second half finds Sánchez further cementing her position as a multiform artist and ceaselessly creative pianist. "Board" projects a hip attitude propelled by a strong sound current and deep-seated groove, "Nebulosa" paints a foggy narrative that's lost and found in the clouds and stars, "Flesh" presents in a menacing 6/8 with emotionally countering piano and bass statements, and "Junk Food" shines a light on how separate thoughts conjoin.
Judging from this music and the album that preceded it, choosing the right partners for projects seems to be one of Sánchez's strong suits. Saxophonists Roman Filiu and Jerome Sabbagh, both holdovers from 'Partenika', bring a fresh sound to the fore in their individualistic statements and blend, and bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Daniel Dor work with the requisite sensitivity and focus needed to bring these different ideas to fruition. But Sánchez herself proves to be the most enthralling presence in the mix. Possessing firm ideas and a flexible mindset, she makes everything shine anew."
Dan Bilawsky (December 20, 2017)
"After leaving her native Madrid and moving to New York City in 2011, Spanish pianist Marta Sánchez went on to form her working group: an appealing acoustic quintet featuring two saxophonists (Jerome Sabbagh on tenor and Román Filiú on alto) and a rhythm section, recording Partenika in 2014. Danza Imposible continues her style of postbop pianism, keeping both saxophonists but replacing bassist Sam Anning and drummer Jason Burger with Rick Rosato and Daniel Dor, respectively. The combination of tenor and alto saxophone in the frontline is an important part of the quintet’s sound and Sabbagh and Filiú are prominently featured; if anything, Sánchez gives them a bit more room to stretch out than she gives herself.
Sánchez wrote all eight of the selections and, at times, there are subtle hints of flamenco and other traditional Spanish music in her work. Another influence on this 41-minute CD is chamber music. Sánchez is classically trained and it shows. Elements of Euro-classical chamber music assert themselves on “Scillar” and “Board” as well as “Flesh”, “Junk Food” and the title track. “Scillar”, which Sánchez previously played with saxophonist Eric Trudel in a different group, offers a melody bearing a slight resemblance to Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge” but is eerier and more abstract. “Junk Food” is an unlikely title for the piece that closes this CD; one may expect soul-jazz or a funky, groove-oriented boogaloo yet the angular tune has a serious, contemplative mood.
Much of Danza Imposible is on the cerebral side, not going out of its way to be accessible, although Sánchez’ complex material offers sizeable rewards to those who don’t insist on immediate gratification from music."
Alex Henderson (November, 2017)
The New York City Jazz Records