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50 YEARS

Jorge Roeder: El Suelo Mío (Self-produced)

A review of the Peruvian musician's debut solo bass album

Jorge Roeder: El Suelo Mío
The cover of El Suelo Mío by Jorge Roeder

The title of this solo double-bass album is loaded. Translated most cleanly as “land of mine,” it explicitly refers to Jorge Roeder’s Peruvian roots. But it suggests many other things as well: an immigrant’s experiences in America, the musician’s place in differing stylistic realms, a bassist’s position in the general sonic strata. It’s a ready example of how a simple notion can branch out well beyond its basic language.

Opening with the absorbing title track, which takes its name and introductory phrase from material in Peruvian singer/songwriter Chabuca Granda’s “Bello Durmiente,” Roeder immediately establishes himself as a technically expressive force on his instrument. “Chabuca Limeña,” Spanish composer Manuel Alejandro’s tribute to Granda; “Solo Juntos,” the bassist’s nod to Andean dance rhythms endemic to Huayno music; and “El Plebeyo,” a classic composition from Felipe Pinglo Alva’s pen, follow in succession and further the picture of Roeder as a beacon for his culture.

Further down the road, following the energetic “Bounce” and a bridge-building “I’ll Remember April” spanning North and South America, Roeder offers tributes to influences and colleagues. “Thing-Thing,” derived from “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” honors piano lodestars like Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. The skittering-turned-soulful “Patrona” and rooted romp “Santa Rosita” make for a paired dedication to guitarist Julian Lage. A spiritually weighted “Rambler,” coupled with an arco take on Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” leans on the wisdom of bassist Charlie Haden. And Brazilian composer Noel Rosa’s melodically driven “Silêncio de um Minuto” and Roeder’s album-ending “Les Lapins” reference work and personal history with the band Avantrio and drummer Ziv Ravitz, respectively. El Suelo Mío is fertile land built with imagination and care.

Preview, buy or download El Suelo Mío on Amazon!

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.