Guitarist Ricardo Grilli allows you the freedom to dream with your eyes open...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Books, film, and music are all vehicles for escape. The opportunity to take a cerebral journey through the eyes of another is the very life blood of the artist endeavor. If On A Winter's Night A Traveler is the auspicious debut from Brazilian Ricardo Grilli that takes the listener on a somewhat conceptualized journey through his experience drawn from a variety of mediums as they relate to his travel from his native Sao Paulo to New York.
Ricardo Grilli has a creative jones not shackled by the conventional form and function of improvisational music. Odd meters, unusual voicing and themes all come full circle and just part of a free association approach used in his compositions and with amazingly fresh results. The somewhat melancholy "Revolver" originates from a John Legend review concerning his Evolver record. Grilli played with the word and the free association narrative of something that returns to itself with the end result a spacious ballad of nuanced depth and character. In doing a quick inventory of the plethora of young guitarists I have reviewed this year alone, Ricardo Grilli may be one of the best original talents I have come across when considering the roughly three dozen guitarists I have reviewed this calendar year alone. Bassist Jared Henderson and drummer Lee Fish are perfect counterpoints holding down the rhythm section. Saxophonist Gustavo D' Amico and pianist Christian Li blend exquisitely well as an incredibly intimate artistic self portrait begins to take shape. "The Abstract" pulls a light ambient flair and allows saxophonist D'Amico to run as a golden thread through this most tantalizing of lyrical tapestries.
Evocative, ethereal, and eclectic finds Grilli hitting that sweet spot somewhere between post bop and the avaunt garde, the harmonic road less traveled is simple melodies with deceptively subtle execution. An incredibly impressive debut, raw yet refined has Grilli's musical stock taking a gigantic leap forward with If On A Winter's Night A Traveler.
Tracks: If On A Winter's Night A Traveler; Is It Really?; The Abstract; Shift; Revolver; Riga; The Great Escape; Mark I; Zenon.
Personnel: Ricardo Grilli: Guitar; Gustavo D' Amico: Saxophones; Christian Li: Piano; Jared Henderson: Bass; Lee Fish: Drums.