Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Tourbillon)


It’s only fitting that the last song on pianist Marta Sanchez’s quintet’s fourth recording is titled “When Dreaming Is the Only,” because there’s a dreamlike quality to much of the music here. Not fairy tales, mind you – far from it, actually – but there’s a narrative floating around in the way the music glides; it’s reminiscent of how dreams rarely follow rigid sequences.

Accompanying this graceful movement is an ensemble well-versed in the pianist’s unique style. Alto saxophonist Alex LoRe and tenor Roman Filiu bring terse counterpoint to their playing, and the rhythm section of bassist Rahsaan Carter and drummer Allan Mednard adds savvy propulsion to Sanchez’s richly textured music. A culmination of SAAM is “Marivi”, a song dedicated to Sanchez’s mother who died during the international shutdowns. Singer Camila Meza, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and synthesist Charlotte Greve are guests, bringing gentle warmth and moderate heartbreak to the proceedings ahead of Sanchez’s complex solo. A distinctive solo is also a feature of “If You Could Make It” and when she reflects on her mother’s death on “December 11”. But for the most part, Sanchez doesn’t demand the spotlight; his group sounds like a unit of equals.

This quintet has been Sanchez’s main project since the pianist moved from her native Madrid to New York 11 years ago. Rather than assimilating her style to the panoply of Gotham jazz, she took the opportunity to refine it and make it sound more. The title of the recording is a riff on the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but it could just as well represent the Sanchez American Art Museum: it’s a cleverly curated presentation of an original voice.

Learn more about SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) on Amazon & Apple Music!


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