Monday, August 18, 2014

Harold López-Nussa, New Day

Good, very good Latin Jazz pianists and their music don't come across my desk all that often. When something does, I take notice. Such a pianist, who is around 30 and already very accomplished, is Harold López-Nussa. You can hear him to excellent advantage on his album New Day (Jazz Village 570021).

He appears before us on acoustic and sometimes electric piano, with the backing of a good Latin jazz trio, which means acoustic bass and a drummer fleet on the set and able to cover the Latin percussion nuances as well.

This appears to be an ideal setting to hear Maestro López-Nussa. He is rhythmically very fluid in a Latin core sense and at the same time has a harmonic-melodic jazz sensibility for today, so that the music is driving and contemporary.

The set here is an excellent one. The originals have substance and originality. Harold drives without especially emphasizing the left-hand chording a la McCoy Tyner or Eddie Palmieri, which distinguishes him in part from some of the contemporary Latin jazz pianists out there, though his comping remains strong, just a bit more brittle and varied. There is a well-developed musicality that is apparent and marks him as special.

He is on tour throughout North America this September and October, so if you like what you hear, go to it! The album is a winner on all fronts, a landmark Latin jazz piano album of the last few years, surely.

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