Angelica Sanchez Quintet – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Angelica Sanchez is one of the main reasons that Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet’s Stellar Pulsations is one of my favorite records of 2012. Her sublime chord progressions and rhythmic jabs lie at the heart of what makes that great band work. Basically, she’s Mazurek’s Herbie Hancock, freely pushing and pulling the other members of the group with intuitive grace.
On this, her fourth album as a leader, her approach isn’t one of balance, but one of counterpoint – usually with guitarist Marc Ducret as her brilliant adversary. Ducret plays angular, choppy figures against Sanchez’s fluid, lyrical lines – and then they switch roles. The duels manage to get very tangled, as the two musicians playing the chording instruments in the group. The richness they create as they weave around each other is enchanting and spellbinding.
The themes don’t jump out and announce themselves, but sneak up on you later – after you’ve stopped listening to the music – encouraging (and rewarding) many repeat listening sessions. Standout track and centerpiece, “Soaring Piasa,” builds into something approximating David S. Ware’s classic quartet, which speaks volumes about the chemistry between the players. (This might be a good place to mention that Tony Malaby is the saxophonist.) Everything about this album just feels right.