Mr. Virelles is an extraordinary, award-winning pianist based in Toronto, Canada. He is often referred to as The Marvel, he is the protégé of flutist/saxophonist Jane Bunnett, who discovered him at a young age in Cuba and made arrangements to have him study music in Canada, allowing him to interact with some of the best musicians in the world. Virelles collaborated with Jane Bunnett and Spirits of Havana as the bands pianist, composer and arranger on award winning CD’s, Red Dragonfly and Radio Guantanemo.
David Virelles steps out into the spotlight in fine fashion on his debut recording as a leader. The liner notes, they are extensive, primarily give thanks to all who have contributed or influenced his progress thus far in his young life, as well as indicating he composed all of the songs with the exception of one, "Laberintos," composed by Jose Aquiles, David Virelles’ father. The song is a beautiful and touching performance of piano and vocal, a ballad, opening with an introduction of delicate piano voicing in a classical fashion. Singing in Spanish, vocalist Mr. Aquiles attacks the song with passion and continues to flow through the swaying, wavelike melody with full-sustained notes that billow out - to float gently down over the piano rhapsody providing a sense of warmth and comfort. The liner notes indicate the vocal track by Mr. Aquiles was recorded in Cuba, the singer has given his son a marvellous gift, in more ways than one.
The opening track "Caminos" is a good introduction to the CD, a very short song that sets up the feeling of Motion literally, it has a complex pulse where the beginning merges into the ending and allows Virelles to play fluidly underneath the repeating pattern, a shifting meter, he lays down some intricate, tasteful runs. The song practically merges into the next song "Los Mas Sublime" a similar pulse, a very solid rhythm section drives the song forward. Drummer Ethan Ardelli plays with a fresh and free flowing form that is very complimentary to the feel of the song, with lots of cymbal work and polyrhythmic accents creating a multilayered tapestry of sounds. The altoist Luis Deniz weaves in and out of this complex pattern, creating and contributing to the intensity of the pleasing sound that is melodic and rhythmical, passionate and urgent. Bassist Devon Henderson is the solid foundation that holds it all together and allows all this freedom of expression to occur unimpeded by the confines of time and space. The percussionist Luis Orbegoso adds another dimension to the song, the world musical influence is presented through the various percussion activities that are tastefully applied and compliment the rhythm perfectly.
The highlights of the recording Motion are many, from the incredible piano playing of David Virelles, to the phenomenal saxophone playing by Luis Deniz and Mark Turner (a guest artist playing on three of the tracks). The playing and singing of guest artist Celso Machado, adding that world influence to the song "Patakin." An upbeat tune that starts out with an introduction by Machado singing in a rough chanting voice and playing the stringed instrument - gimbri, the song develops over the course of twelve minutes into a paradise of pleasing sounds, flowing melodies and catchy rhythms with intriguing, thoughtful solos interspersed throughout.
Overall, a top rated CD, by a group of excellent young musicians, playing inspired music and coming together to create a superb first effort.