Samuel Torres Group: Forced Displacement
Samuel Torres: Congas
Michael Rodriguez: Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Yosvany Terry: Alto and Soprano Saxophones
Marshall Gilkes: Trombone
Luis Perdomo: Piano
Ricky Rodriguez: Acoustic Bass
Obed Calvaire: Drums
Jonathan Gómez: Colombian Percussion:
Tambor Alegre, Tambora Costeña, Maracón, Tambor Llamador, Calabaza
Samuel Torres, Marshall Gilkes, Obed Calvaire, Edmar Castañeda: Claps
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 8, 2016
This CD is an original suite, by Samuel Torres, a Colombian-born percussionist and composer, dedicated to victims of violence in Colombia from guerillas, paramilitary, and the army. Torres was awarded a New Jazz Works Grant by Chamber Music America in 2012, and his expansive, 10-movement suite, called “Forced Displacement”, becomes Torres’ response to the tribulations in his homeland. Included in the ten movements, beginning with his “Overture”, are drum and percussion introductions and almost full-track solos by Torres and Jonathan Gómez, atonal, full-ensemble fusion in a deep minor key, and featured solos and combos of artists from Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, and beyond. Torres particularly dedicates this album to the Afro-Colombian community, found at the center of much of his country’s violent aftermath. Torres visited rural San Juan de Urabá and met the Afro-Colombian folkloric master, Emilsen Pacheco, who shared his culture and experiences with Torres, during his tour.
All compositions by Samuel Torres.
#3 – Velada de Tambores (Drums Soiree) – This third movement in the suite opens with Jonathan Gomez’ tambor alegre solo, followed by a brass-tambor-piano conversation, with each taking the thematic rhythms in turn. Soon the horns dissipate and Luis Perdomo, on piano, ends the track in clavé tempo, matching the Latin percussion in a breezy beat. It’s worth listening to this track twice for its nuanced arrangement.
#7 – Lluvia, Luna Y Voz (Rain, Moon, and Voice) – This movement was inspired by a walk in pouring rain in Colombia, which Torres shared with a filmmaker and Emilsen, his guide. In a jungle area near the ocean, with rain and moon interacting, Emilsen sang a song that was the catalyst for this track. Clapping, strong percussion, piano, and fused, billowing brass, including Yosvany Terry’s saxophones, charge the repetitious phrases of this brief piece..
#8 – Emilsen, El Hijo de San Juan (Emilsen, the Son of San Juan) – This is a more layered and lengthy track, a tribute to Torres’ muse, Emilsen, who guided his Afro-Colombian tour. Piano, drums, trombone, and trumpet are featured here in a celebratory, charged mélange of musicality. Again, I recommend listening to this track twice for its textured overlay of brass and rhythm. This is a thoughtful tribute piece.
#9 – El Orgullo Del Tambor (Drum’s Pride) – This dynamic, danceable movement brings back Marshall Gilkes on trombone and Michael Rodriguez on trumpet for a buoyant duo, amidst Obed Calvaire’s drums, Ricky Rodriguez’ bass, piano, and a full complement of horns and percussion. Hints of tropical mambo infuse the imagery, amidst the album’s historical and turbulent themes. This track shifts the motif to upbeat.