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02/25/13

David Gilmore
Numerology: Live at the Jazz Standard
Evolutionary

By the very nature of their occupation, jazz artists have an enduring fascination with numbers. With Numerology, a two-part suite that explores the “mystical, divine and spiritual meaning” of them, perennially underrated guitarist David Gilmore makes that fascination visceral. Recorded at Jazz Standard in 2010, the album blends post-M-Base music with Latin-influenced fusion to create an exhilarating whole.

The number that matters most here is five, as it applies to Gilmore’s killer quintet, including alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón (in ripping form), pianist Luis Perdomo (playing in and out of the pocket with soulful strength), and the superhuman bass and drum team of Christian McBride and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Pushing through modal space, building on minimalistic themes, cutting grooves with the participation of ace percussionist Mino Cinelu, the music never stops building or unfolding.

Numerology opens with a yearning melody made haunting by Claudia Acuña’s breathy wordless vocals. But once Zenón takes hold of the set with the first of his charged solos, and Gilmore adds to the excitement with entwined unison figures, the first movement is locked into an upward trajectory. Movement two starts soothingly—there’s a lovely interlude featuring Gilmore and Acuña—but it too bursts with lyrical abandon. Gilmore’s melodic thrusts give way to a soulful/funkish episode featuring a resounding McBride solo. In the end, with a twinkly Twilight Zone riff, Numerology takes its place among the music of the spheres.

Originally published in January/February 2013
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