released September 22, 2015
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Gabriel Vicéns presents “Days”, his stunning second album.
A recording that features energetic, rock-influenced Jazz by one of Puerto Rico’s leading guitarists and his top-flight band.
Some musicians hone their craft slowly and patiently. Others move in leaps and bounds. Puerto Rican-born Gabriel Vicéns belongs in the latter group, as his second album, “Days”, clearly shows.
The guitarist’s “Point in Time”, was warmly received by critics upon its release in 2012, garnering five-star reviews. “Days”, however, marks the young musician’s further evolution, both as a guitar player and as a composer of powerful rock- and Latin- influenced Jazz. “Days” will be distributed by the Inner Circle Music label, created by influential saxophonist Greg Osby to promote creative art produced by idealist thinkers.
A distinguished graduate from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, Vicéns is nowadays Professor at Universidad Interamericana in San Juan. He is widely viewed as one of the leading lights of the young generation of Puerto Rican jazz players.
“When I write, I’m moved by a particular emotion or something that´s happening in my life”, says the musician, born in the Guaynabo municipality. “Obviously, I also do it thinking about the musicians that will play my tunes and the roles each one of them will have in the final product”. But emotion comes first.
True to its concept, “Days” mirrors the day-to-day experiences that shape Vicéns' life as a human being. And as the music makes explicit, that day-to-day is full of jubilant, expansive and vibrant moments, which are also shared by other great musicians with a particular affinity to Vicéns’ view.
The album boasts no less than three world-famous invitees, Russian trumpet titan Alex Sipiagin (who co-produced “Days”), Puerto Rican tenor sax star David Sánchez and percussionist Paoli Mejías, a full-time member of Santana’s band. It also includes a veritable “who’s who” of young Puerto Rican jazz masters: Jonathan Suazo on alto sax, Bienvenido Dinzey on piano, Dan Martínez on bass and Leonardo Osuna on drums.
“Days” features modern jazz that is based on tradition, but never copies it; in any case, tradition works in this album as the starting point for Vicéns’ personal explorations. And there are many delights to savor here, from the strong personality of the compositions to the constantly high level of creativity in the solos, the total commitment of the musicians, a really tight band, and, perhaps most importantly, the assertive, positive vibe of the whole session.
That vibe can be felt from the first cut, “El Teatro”, a tune slightly reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s “Yes or No”. A fiery and fluid solo by Sipiagin, followed by Sánchez and Vicéns wise ideas, launch the magnificent improvisations contained in this recording. On the second, namesake tune, Vicéns shows he has developed his own voice on the guitar, with attractive, sinewy lines that grab the listener´s ear.
Other highlights include “Amintiri”, a timeless guitar-piano duo; the deep melodic imagination of “Doing Circles”; and the intense, expert solos on “Breaking Through Shadows” and “Justice”.
“Jazz gives you the freedom to do as you please”, says Gabriel Vicéns. “It’s not just a style. It´s real freedom of expression. It´s in constant evolution as a genre. It´s the constant search of new things”.
With the release of “Days”, this outstanding musician shows he embodies that continuous evolution, as he finds new ways of expressing his ideas with wit, creativity, and passion. It´s an album destined to become a landmark of Jazz made in Puerto Rico –or anywhere else.
Gabriel Vicéns: guitar
Alex Sipiagin: trumpet and flugelhorn
David Sánchez: tenor saxophone
Jonathan Suazo: alto saxophone
Bienvenido Dinzey: piano
Dan Martinez: bass
Leonardo Osuna: drums
Paoli Mejias: percussion (tracks 2 and 8)
Recorded by Julio González and Edgar Segarra at El Padrino Recording Studio, Puerto Rico, January 2015.
Mixed and Mastered by David Darlington
Produced by Gabriel Vicéns
Co-produced by Alex Sipiagin
Associate producer: Greg Osby
Cover photo by Raul López Mestres
Graphic Design by Bill Bramble
All compositions by Gabriel Vicéns, Vicens Music (ASCAP)