“GABRIEL GUERRERO BRINGS FRESH IDEAS TO HIS MUSIC, HE SAYS, WHEN I THINK HE IS GOING LEFT HE GOES RIGHT AND WHEN I THINK HE IS GOING RIGHT HE GOES LEFT. HE ALWAYS SURPRISES ME, WHICH I LOVE. HE BRINGS HIS LATIN CULTURE TO THE MUSIC IN HIS OWN INVENTIVE WAY.
HE IS A REAL IMPROVISER.”
– JERRY BERGONZI
★★★★½“Present Moment,” the first track on Gabriel Guerrero & Quantum’s debut album, arrives like a torrent of exultation that only on occasion recedes. Even then, there is a pleasant tumult of harmonic tension, especially when Guerrero’s piano bleeds into the tantalizing sonic expositions of Seth Trachy’s saxophone. The track is like the preface to a book, a harbinger of expressive music that at its base exudes a Latin-flavored rhythm. Whether in a relaxed mode, as on “Permanent Diversion, Part 1 & 2,” or the more explosive “Retrogression,” there’s an inviting coherence, a confection of melody that harkens at first back to hard-bop, and then ahead to a distinct futuristic sound.A repetitive cluster of thundering chords drives “No Return,” and they are suffused with enough chromaticism to induce a collage of invention from each of the performers. On “Ozpal,” drummer Felix Lecaros shines with a relentless, yet controlled exuberance, which is in direct contrast to the meditative pace of things on “Expectation,” where Will Slater’s bass is the resonant center. There are two versions of “Belong” and no matter the choice, the note-for-note blend and surge of Guerrero and Trachy is beguiling, a veritable tour the force, and another instance of the unbridled creativity they possess.I’m not sure what Equilibrio means, but it it suggests a collective gusto, then that’ll work. This is just the group’s first shot across the bow, and this superb beginning foretells a most promising excursion into whatever soundscape they choose to inhabit. – Herb Boyd
“A dazzling pyrotechnician and accomplished composer, Colombian pianist Gabriel Guerrero incorporates rhythms from his native country into the fabric of thoughtful originals like the percolating “Hope,” the elegantly swinging “Ritual,” and “Charlie,” named for his New England Conservatory mentor Charlie Banacos. Guerrero’s harmonically advanced interpretations of folkloric material (“Colombia Tierra Querida,” “Tonto Malembe”) and his blazing reinvention of Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco” using chande and tambora rhythms also organically blend jazz with a Colombian rhythmic sense. Tenor sax titan Jerry Bergonzi guests on “Snake Shot” and the beautiful “Tango Reflexivo,” both of which are fueled by the interactive rhythm tandem of drummer Tim Horner and bassist Bruce Gertz. Guerrero, whose credits include the Danilo Pérez Big Band, closes with the delicate solo piano piece “Crepusculo.” This is one of the most startling and rewarding piano-led debuts since Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s 1990 Blue Note offering, Discovery: Live at Montreux.”– Bill Milkowski
“Guerrero evokes classical piano tradition as well as Mulgrew Miller and Keith Jarrett”
-The New York City Jazz Record
Guerrero brings traces of his Colombian heritage in the bass ostinatos of his latin-flavoured composition ‘Lightning’ while the closely arranged rhythmic complexities of ‘Lapso’ recall Chick Corea and ‘Land Of The Free’ moves between tumultuous free-form and a mutated cha-cha-cha. Guerrero has a multitude of voices at his command, capable of executing contemporary swing, latin or free style with equal conviction; his fluent virtuosity is matched by the other players in this outstandingly balanced and accomplished outfit. While there’s no new ground being broken here, you couldn’t ask for a more powerful, considered and sincerely offered summation of the current state of the piano trio. – Eddie Myer
“Gabriel Guerrero is blest with a masterful musical intellect. This enables him to form gorgeous melodic ideas that seemingly appear out of nowhere to captivate the heart and mind of the listener for listen they must as Guerrero creates wondrous whorls of songs, resplendent in melody and harmony, and rich in the rhythm of his mystical Colombian roots. These roots have given rise to wide and wind-swept branches that cover a wide imaginary swathe of musical topography from Colombia through the rest of Latin America to the United States and on to Europe. The pianist has technique that would make him a magnificent concert hall pianist, playing the music of the Great Composers of decades gone by. However he has chosen to play the music of his American idol, Bud Powell from whom he drawn broad inspiration.
In finding his own voice, however, Guerrero appears to have combined Powell’s classic, delicate melodicism with a strong underpinning of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American rhythm. The result is a singular kind of decorative style laced and accentuated with sinewy rhythms.His album Feyas is a great start to the career of a musician full of promise. Like some of the finest scholarly pianists-composers (for example: Gonzalo Rubalcaba) to come from way south of the border, Guerrero has exploded on the stage with music of immense maturity. Although his virtuosity shines through the spotlight always remains on depth of thought, complexity of ideas that build in logic as well as unbridled creativity from a soulful wellspring to a wonderful conclusion. Thus his immense musical intellect shines through.
His composition “Charlie,” for instance is spun out like a masterfully constructed spider’s stratagem, which is beguiling and mesmerizingly slow at first, then reveals itself for the powerful vortex that it contains, which, in turn, draws the listener into its tonal center with a spectacular harmonic design spun with rapturous delight. Although it comes from a completely different source (bebop music) Guerrero’s re-invention of Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco” makes a remarkable statement about the relationship of rhythm that lies at the heart of both Afro American music and the music that Guerrero grew up with in his heart: Colombian folk forms. The manner in which he combines both influences makes foe a wondrous listen.
There is much to cheer about Gabriel Guerrero’s record, Feyas and it includes his compositions, which are bold and rich in the complexity and design of their ideas. Guerrero firmly establishes his voice here as he adds to the remarkably growing literature of Latin American instrumental music. Here he shows how sure he is of himself as he treads sure-footedly through form and function. Above all his playing is hypnotic and completely mesmerizes the listening audience. The pianist also gets stellar assistance from high-power trios with whom he seems to communicate telepathically. This adds to the immense pleasure of listening to this music over and over again. – Raul da Gama
“Gabriel Guerrero: Feyas The mere mention of bop piano icon Bud Powell as an inspiration and major influence should be a justifiable motivation to pay attention to Gabriel Guerrero. The energetic pianist’s Feyas displays a recognized reverence to Powell while also exhibiting self-assurance, technical expedience, and compositional proficiency.
Guerrero draws deep from the jazz piano idiom as well as his Latin and classical backgrounds. He comes out blazing right from the launching track with “Colombia Tierra Querida,” followed by a delicious version of Powell’s “Un Poco Loco” and then “Hope,” which utilizes his country’s polyrhythms of bullerengue and porro. Placing these three at the commencement of the lineup was a clever production strategy to allow maximum exhibition of Guerrero’s strong points. He covers the Venezuelan folk song “Tonto Malembe” as a straight-ahead jazz number with faultless drumming by Karina Colis. Guitarist Jeff Miles is brought in for “Ritual,” an extended montage that effectively reflects Guerrero’s grasp of the freedom of fusion.
The two tracks Guerrero composed specifically for respected educator and sax man Jerry Bergonzi, “Snake Shot” and “Tango Reflexivo,” show strong intellect and versatility in his writing and arranging. Bergonzi relishes the occasion to stretch out along with guest trumpeter Ken Cervenka. Guerrero dedicates the soothing ballad “Charlie” to his mentor at New England Conservatory, Charlie Banacos, whom he credits as a fundamental figure in his musical development.
Having been exposed to a vast array of music in his life from intense formal academia, recording, and touring with a diverse number of artists, Gabriel Guerrero is not resting on his accumulated laurels. He is well on his way to staking out a claim as one of the rising pianists in contemporary jazz.” – JAMES NADAL
“Colombian-born composer and pianist Gabriel Guerrero emerges from the talent-rich jazz environment of New York City as the latest hidden wonder to surface and stake a claim with a brilliant musical statement on FEYAS. Some people believe in angels that exist to protect and guide them. As a young child Guerrero named his angels FEYAS, as an adult, he’s thankful and grateful for the musical path these angels have guided him towards. A classically-trained pianist, Guerrero draws on a blend of be-bop, Latin, Colombian and other rhythms, contributing seven originals and borrowing two covers in producing this project. Performing with his core piano trio consisting of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Eric Doob, Guerrero augments the personnel to include the likes of tenor saxophonist icon Jerry Bergonzi—who appears as special guest—along with percussionist Samuel Torres and bassist Bruce Gertz among the fifteen musicians on the disc.
Lucho Bermudez was a leading figure of the 1940s big band era in Colombia and his “Colombia Tierra Querida” is reprised by the Guerrero who puts a modern spin on the music reflecting how the pianist feels about the current situation in his homeland of Colombia. One of the major influences on Guerrero’s musical career is the great Bud Powell, and with the percussive combination of Doob and Torres, the pianist pays tribute laying down quick right-hand phrases on a special percussive rendition of the master’s “Un Poco Loco.”
Drenched in the Bullerengue, Porro and ternary Colombian rhythms, “Hope” serves as a vehicle for Guerrero’s stylistic piano playing and showcasing his more than appreciable chops on the instrument. The pianist is just as impressive on “Charlie,” his tribute to the late pianist and educator Charlie Banacos whose ear-training education method is still used around the world. Banacos was Guerrero’s teacher and mentor in Boston. “Tonto Malembe” is an intricate Venezuelan Folklore tune while “Ritual” features guitarist Jeff Miles engaged in a beautiful piano/guitar combo in one of the delightful moments of the disc.
Penned for Jerry Bergonzi, “Snake Shot” as well as “Tango Reflexivo” highlight the tenor voice of the saxophonist on two more contemporary jazz pieces in somewhat a slight departure from the exotic feel of the disc. The album ends with “Crepusculo,” the lightest moment of the session featuring Guerrero’s performance of an improvised classical solo piece dedicated to his mother. FEYAS is a heavenly non-standard jazz endeavor delivering unique South American rhythms on a bed of strong classical elements and Gabriel Guerrero is the young architect of the spirited music found here. A virtuoso pianist and excellent composer, Guerrero does it all on FEYAS an album audiences will devour.” – Edward Blanco
BeBop Spoken Here
Colombian Guerrero is well schooled in both North American jazz and South American rhythms and harmonies making him the perfect pianist to lay down the compositions, 3 of which are his own (Jackson and De Rosa both have 2) and reflect his love of Afro-Caribbean music. A passion he shares with Gene Jackson.
Listening to the opening number, Cole Porter’s “I Love You” might give the impression that this is an album of standards but that’s far from what’s on offer. Carlo De Rosa’s luscious, deep bass is a particular standout here. “Great River,” one of two Jackson-penned numbers, is a jaunty, angular piece with an eccentric dragged beat. The only other non-originals are two Thelonius Monk tunes, the upbeat “Played Twice” and the more conventional ballad “Ugly Beauty,” which spotlights pianist Gabriel Guerrero, whose playing is both assured and sensitive throughout the album. Following a sombre opening with thunderous drums and arco bass, Guerrero’s “Land Of The Free” breaks down into a much looser arrangement, but holds together cohesively before reverting to the opening head.
“Peaceful Tremor” written by De Rosa, is, as its title implies, a delicate composition, performed at a largo tempo, Guerrero’s dulcet piano accompanied by Jackson’s brushed drums and De Rosa’s sonorous pizzicato bass. Jackson’s “Before Then” gathers pace with Guerrero’s fleet-footed piano work dominating, closely mirrored by Jackson’s crisp drumming and De Rosa’s resonant bass, both of which are showcased in solos. The album concludes with Guerrero’s “Lapso,” which oscillates between languidness and excitingly vibrant sections, all sewn together seamlessly. In its 67 minutes, this album yields a myriad of beguiling ideas both in terms of composition and execution. It also highlights the sheer versatility of Jackson’s percussive talents within this heterogeneous set. By ROGER FARBEY
“We start our Jazz program with a new release named FEYAS which just came out in 2012 by New York-based Colombian pianist Gabriel Guerrero leading this exquisite sound journey. Guerrero has been part of Danilo Perez Big Band as well as pianist for world renowned saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi who is a guest on the album. We begin our journey with the intelligent version of “Colombia Tierra Querida” written by Lucho Bermudez and arranged by Guerrero to what the pianist states is a special vision of his country Colombia. The track “Ritual” evokes in a prayer like mood the strength that comes from above. One finds surprising that a Jazz record such as this album by young Colombian Pianist Gabriel Guerrero is inspired and dedicated to the shining, evanescent and beautiful presence of angels in an early dream in his childhood to which Guerrero named Feyas which gives the title to this album.
Guerrero proposes in this album a very careful and mindful revision of some rhythms from the Colombian music tradition by intelligently incorporating some rhythmic cells of “Bullerengue” and “Porro” to the universal context of Jazz as an innuendo of the lineage which inspires him with the music of great composers such as Lucho Bermudez and Bud Powell as heard on Powell’s “Un Poco Loco.” The young pianist’s formative years were mainly in classical music and in the album acknowledgements he thanks to the memory of Isabel Garcia, his first piano teacher as well as his also teacher and mentor Charlie Banacos to which Guerrero wrote the song “Charlie.” Guerrero is part of an emerging group of musicians in New York and his presence in this difficult scene is very important for Colombia. The album FEYAS features musicians such as Samuel Torres, Jorge Roeder, Eric Doob, Bruce Gertz Jerry Bergonzi among others.” – Rafael Serrano – UNRadio 98.5 FM COLOMBIA
“Guerrero turns on the warmth with his deeply etched textures, his phrases are long and deep, yet fluid.”
“Gabriel is an intelligent player”
– All About Jazz
“Pianist Guerrero provides strong piano lines”
– eJazz News
“Gabriel Guerrero is a promising pianist”
“Guerrero blends classical with modern, striking a perfect balance”
“Gabriel Guerrero gives the listening audience superb piano stylings”
– Jazz Review
Review on Reptilian Fantasies
“Modern-jazz ranging from exotic, winding melodies and gently creeping conversations to buoyant hard-bop and freewheeling rhythmic exercises. Guerrero balances ornate piano statements”
– Jazz Times
“Musical journey on “Tango Reflexivo” drawing the listener in with its strange beauty due to the touch of pianist Gabriel Guerrero”
– The Groove
“Gabriel’s musical touch and scope is quite rare. he is, in my opinion, one of a kind”
– Matana Roberts
– Saxophonist / Composer, member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
“Gabriel is truly a freethinker whose writing and playing have been strongly informed by a variety of musical genres. This manifests itself in the diversity that he brings to the stage as a composer/performer who is equally at home speaking the languages associated with the worlds of jazz, latin and classical music.”
– Anthony D.J Branker –
“In New York Gabriel is considered a virtuoso pianist as well as someone who has highlighted
in his compositions the best from South American grooves specially from Colombia.”
– Señal Radio Colombia –
“Tying his mortar of Latin roots and metropolitan frenzy, Gabriel Guerrero finds in the voices of his piano a different sound, at times with a strong interpretive impetus and at other times minimalist. His music is surprising it goes gently rising, exploring ways through which it can travel from bass to treble, from silence to the sudden outbreak. Guerrero develops his own expressive world with a solid base that allows him to improvise, where he recreates in our imagination in every moment short stories with fragrances of jazz (Subway, metropolis, frenzy). Colombian pianist Gabriel Guerrero has the imprint of a “great” in the current Jazz times.”
– Actual Jazz by Leonardo Díaz