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Arturo Stabile: Cuban Crosshatching

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As the title indicates, this is not strictly an Afro-Cuban jazz record, but flits between styles, incorporating straight-ahead and Latin influences. Named for the artistic technique that uses parallel lines to create shading and depth, Arturo Stable’s varied percussion style adds a Cuban inflection to his eclectic compositions, from the rhythmic pulse of guajira and son to a sudden frisson of cymbals that rounds out his gorgeous ballads. Stable’s choice of personnel ensures a multicultural bent. Saxophonist Seamus Blake and guitarist Lionel Loueke contribute a fluidity and lyricism that transcend genre conventions. Bassist Edward Perez and vocalist Magos Herrera ground the album with Latin flair, but most of the tracks have a dreamlike quality.

Despite this diaphanous texture, Stable hangs his originals around the lifeblood of cultural tradition, breaking up the album with three duets: one vocal, one with saxophone and one with guitar. Stable stretches out on these, as do Herrera, Blake and Loueke. Isolating each individual player reveals their chemistry with the leader, making it easy to see how this meeting of minds is more than the sum of its parts.

Stable hails from Santiago, Cuba, and spent time in Havana, Puebla, Mexico, Boston (he studied at Berklee) and finally in Philadelphia, where he currently resides, serving as the chair of the hand-percussion department at the University of the Arts. As a sideman, Stable has performed alongside Esperanza Spalding, Paquito D’Rivera, David Sánchez and Miguel Zenón. This wealth of experience is evident throughout, from opener “Havana Lights,” a propulsive shuffle that conjures the bustling Cuban capital, to the free-floating, soulful vocal ballad “Pienso En Ti,” to the richly tinted flamenco-infused flourishes of “Tinto.”

Originally Published