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David Virelles: Time Way Out

The pianist makes waves as a leader with temporally daring original music

David Virelles

David Virelles has carved a niche for himself as a first-call pianist in groups led by saxophonists Steve Coleman, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Ravi Coltrane and Jane Bunnett, but his affinity for woodwind players is only part of the story that unfolds on Continuum (Pi), the 29-year-old’s rhythmically adventurous sophomore album. The continuum Virelles refers to is a non-linear one, blending Afro-Cuban folklore, spoken word and contemporary harmony: Chano Pozo meets Cecil Taylor meets the Roots.

“[David is] a very creative person and he has excellent technique,” says drummer Andrew Cyrille, who anchors the album’s arresting though elusive rhythm section alongside bassist Ben Street and auxiliary percussionist Roman Diaz, who also recites hot-blooded poetry. “He knows what he wants to do and he knows how to communicate to all of us so we can deliver what he wants compositionally.”

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