There are no two cities more dissimilar and difficult to compare than New York and Geneva. Even both cities’ proximity to large, important bodies of water fail at close examination: New York’s mighty Hudson and the stormy Atlantic, versus Geneva’s tranquil Rhone and the peaceful and majestic Lake of Leman share little beyond their constituent molecule, H2O. If anything, then New York City’s mountains of glass and concrete called skyscrapers, competing in awesomeness and daring with the towering Alpine peaks surrounding Geneva.
And still, commuting between both cities for the last 15 years or so, to visit my daughter Leticia and her children in Geneva, I saw a musical home flourish and thrive in both cities, to which this CD offers the finest testament.
Having worked with Raphael Nick in several Afro-Cuban-tinged projects and enjoying his versatility and virtuosity, we decided to join forces whenever I would come to Switzerland. It was he who brought amazing Brazilian bass-virtuoso Dudú Penz to the mix and, voilà!, a magic recipe was ready to cook.
1. Prelude X (Hector Martignon) has had a tortuous life; born as incidental music for the award-winning play by Mario Damient, Cita a Ciegas, in which the late Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges’ last years in blindness are depicted, I decided to include a piano version of it as the 10th of 24 Preludes I wrote for my students and fellow pianists. It eventually served as the mysterious vehicle for improvisation with which this album begins. Serendipitously, Borges’ remains rest in Geneva.
2. Pasilleando (Hector Martignon) is my take on Pasillo, the piano-based genre from my birthplace, Bogota, which then opens the stage to a devilish Venezuelan-Colombian Joropo rhythm. Band member (even after moving to Puerto Rico!) Jean-Lou Treboux adds just the magic vibe with his virtuosic vibe-playing.
3. Our arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s arrangement of The Eagles’ NY Minute strives to transmit the urgency and restlessness of life in my home NYC. No-one better than my friend and trombone virtuoso, Luis Bonilla to do just that.
4. One Step Behind (Hector Martignon) is my ode to the futility of attempting to outrun life.
5. Johnny Come Lately, one of Billy Strayhorn’ most swinging compositions for Duke Ellington, seems to be born at the crossing of straight ahead and Latin Jazz; it swings both ways!
6. Sous Le Vent (Hector Martignon) is another of the 24 Preludes re-born as a