Gabriel Riesco Project

Sculptures In Time

Sculptures In Time, the new CD from guitarist/composer/arranger Gabriel Riesco is a tribute to Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Recorded in one day with an ensemble that includes saxophonist Nir Naaman, pianist Ray Assaf, bassist Chris Smith, and drummer Colin Stranahan, Sculptures In Time is a musical pictorial that depicts the natural curves of Riesco’s guitar chords, and its modal changes producing various degrees of tension and release. Instrument parts alternate between spools of balled up clusters and clumps of loosely floating wisps, creating climate changes on a whim with everyone adjusting to the new altitude. Each composition moves through several frames moving along a reel of sonic vignettes that penetrate the senses and induce stimulating effects.

Riesco and crew display influences of traditional jazz, Latin rhythms, smooth blues, bop, and fusion. Shuffling between brisk sweeps and a tottering gait, the Riesco Project convey a preference for spontaneity as the band strings a series of arbitrary links and sleek segues. The tangential cuts and avant angles are spurred on by prior events that come to the surface prodding the direction of the current like in “Chillida.” Riesco explores how instrument patterns move through time and space, similarly to the way the wind moves through sand leaving streak marks and feather-light imprints. The Latin flavored “Simba’s Samba” is trellised in frilly saxophone hooks which turn to a wave of searing hoots through “Ol For” with an undertow of chiming cymbals. Each track is like a small experiment to Riesco who forms a tight relationship between his guitar and the other instruments, interlocking their phrases and creating melodic masses that are inviting and reminiscent of supper club jazz.

Riesco is a unique guitarist in that he plays the guitar like it is simply another limb that assists in moving the body of the music. The album has an overall happy tone that is infectious and permeates a positive vibe. A student of classic guitar and a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Gabriel Riesco has played in theatre companies, jazz ensembles and as a solo artist/bandleader. Sculptures In Time is his second solo CD, and shows the potential that the guitar has to affect contemporary jazz idioms.

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Susan Frances