The title refers to Gomez's desire to bring Picasso's Cubist approach to music — the players briefly riff on motifs and patterns (Gomez dubs them "unitifs") to bend the angle of the melody or harmony. But you don't need a Ph.D in music theory to revel in these accessibly multifaceted tunes, which glide from carbonated bop (“NYC Taxi Ride”) to gently swaying, New Orleans-tinted blues (“The Minetta Triangle”) to beguiling neo-bossa nova (“Coqui Serenade”). Pianist Gomez is an alumnus of bands led by clarinetist Don Byron (whose “Molly” is the disc's lone cover) and tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and they're among the surfeit of stellar sidemen, unfurling a galaxy of memorable highlights. Some, like Gomez's powerful block chords on “Lady Bug” or Drew Gess's haunting arco bass on “Empty House,” are immediately arresting; others are atmospheric homages to former Ellington associate Juan Tizol (like Gomez, a Puerto Rican native) and West 54th Street, tone poems that keep resonating.
By Britt Robson on 09.11.08 in Reviews
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