Circles, the new recording by Venezuelan pianist Benito González, his second as a leader, speaks of an artist taking stock -- as he moves forward. This album for me marks a cycle that ends and another that begins, says González. All my experiences are portrayed in this album. And what a remarkable journey it s been. Circles reflects everything I had been living in this cycle in my life. If the recording has a classic, 1960s sound, it wasn t premeditated, but a reflection of what I was hearing. Also, I m a fan of that period. It was a very rich time in jazz and I think it s being overlooked, he says. And the musicians [on the record] all immediately knew what to do. There was great chemistry in the studio. The album features old friends Christian McBride and Ron Blake alongside Azar Lawrence on tenor sax, Myron Walden, on alto and soprano sax and Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums. Each of the nine tracks has a definite meaning and purpose, says González, be it a tribute to Elvin Jones ( Elvin s Sight ), Kenny Kirkland ( Faces ), a piece dedicated to his daughter who will be seven in November ( Elise ), a meditation on the continuous moving, resettling, and making and losing friends in his life ( Let s talk about you and me ) or Blues on The Corner, a nod to McCoy Tyner, one of his most obvious influences. People always pick up on McCoy s influence in my playing, but I actually started out with Herbie, and Chick and Bud Powell. It just turns out I ve been involved in music situations that call for that sound, especially Kenny and Azar, who first heard me playing on my favorite McCoy s album Enlightenment. People talk about McCoy Africanizing the piano, making it a percussion instrument, and I feel very comfortable playing in that style. It feels very natural.
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