Xavi Reija 2017
On pastures unplugged, Catalan paragon of percussion ponders upon inner peace.
Maybe it’s a sign of maturity: a logical roll from the edgy, electrically driven "Resolution" to this acoustic album which is no less charged on emotional level. Waving goodbye to fusion and drifting toward refined jazz tropes, Xavi Reija and his new sidekicks – contrabassist Pau Lligadas and piano player Nitai Hershkovits – opt for very nuanced performances now, and if some dynamics get flattened in the process, the ultimate reward is a transfer of well-patterned placidity from the trio to the listener.
Light yet majestic, the baroque-tinctured “Serenity” and the title tracks – two of them, one marked as “Long Trip” – perfectly encapsulate a pastel hue of it all, while it’s “Ausencia” that is the key to the whole picture, to this barely-there shift of sounds. Starting with “Martina” where anxious friskiness transpires from elegiac strokes, and ending with the splashes of “Thy Remembrance” for a bittersweet aftertaste to last long, the record has romance painted over every note, blue and otherwise. But if “Capella (We Still Dance)” offers a frivolous surge of rhythm and melody, the piece’s echoes in its non-subtitled, rather dry namesake and the sprightly “We Keep Walking” create alternately ruminative and exuberant swirls of aural color.
A space for thought, “Reflections” doesn’t mirror the listener’s feeling, though, but there’s a delicately-driven direction for one’s pondering to flow freely, and such guidance is impossible to resist.