Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution
(Independent / 21 April 2019)
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"When I set out to start All Is Fused I thought of a possible trajectory for our sound. I knew enough about my favorite artists to know that it was unlikely our sound would be fully developed by our first album. I started planning our phase 1 – the road it would take us to get closer to that sound. I believe Revolution to be the culmination of said phase 1."
Interesting, inventive, and highly original, Joan Torres's All Is Fused offers listeners an intriguing ride on Revolution, the fourth release for the San Francisco based ensemble.
Joan has added different bass guitars other than his tried and true Fender Jazz Bass for the instrumental release, and each track offers something different. Rebellion is appropriately named - a wild, high energy ride of rhythm, melody, and dissonance thrown in for good measure.
High Stakes sticks to a contemporary jazz mode, with Torres showcasing his bass chops in a melodic solo against a kinetic drum line. A rhythm driven track, it also features a moody sax line juxtaposing a bombastic rhythm section to interesting effect.
In Moving Mountain, Joan takes the bass solo in a minimalist and avant garde piece that explores the different sounds he can wring from his instrument. He begins with a simple thematic rhythm that he builds on, extracting melodies, counterpoint rhythms, and more in a bassist tour de force. About halfway through, he adds other instrumentation, and a more conventional take on melody, rhythm, and harmonic structure. Still in a fairly minimalist mode, it ventures into trippy jazz fusion territory.
Ambivalence - the notes don't say what the title of the song was inspired by, but I'm wondering if it's the mash up between new music classical and modern jazz in the track. There are more than shades of prog rock in the song, with a hint of the symphonic sounds of bands like King Crimson.
Loss is appropriately elegiac, downtempo and moody, emphasizing mournful strings and bass. Barriers lightens the mood with a melodic keyboard driven theme, and Aftermath adds a distinctly Latin touch to the mayhem.
Finale begins simply, incorporating more complex rhythms and a kinetic sax line, then a guitar pattern over the drum kit in a beat that gets wilder and wilder. It's a track that lets all the soloists shine.
Joan, who writes all the material, was in his first band by the 8th grade, studying music at a private music academy in his native Puerto Rico, and eventually taking part in the Berklee in Puerto Rico workshops in 2004, where he met many musicians along with furthering his musicianship and composition skills. He formed the Raices Rusticas, who opened and gigged with many of the area's jazz luminaries.
If this album marks the end of the band's Phase I stage, it will be interesting to see where the journey leads them next.
2. High Stakes
3. Moving Mountain
9. (Bonus Track) True (Revamp)
Jonathan Suazo: Alto Sax; Gabriel Vicéns: Guitar; Sergio González: Guitar; Emanuel Rivera: Piano and Keyboards; Fernando García: Drums; Joan Torres: Bass
Special guests: Paoli Mejías: Percussion on Aftermath; Julius Meléndez: Trumpet on Barriers; Elana Hedrych: Vocals on Barriers
String quintet on Loss: Fermín A. Segarra Cordero on Violin; Guillermo A. Peguero Alers on Violin; Lourdes N. Negrón Santos on Viola; Fermín Segarra Vásquez on Cello; Andrés E. Almodóvar Santiago on Double Bass
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Aftermath - a live version: