Plurality is a self-produced and self-released CD by guitarist Chris Vazquez. Currently a student at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, his previous schooling includes studies at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The eight tunes on the disc, all composed by Vazquez, show marked influences from Mike Stern in the angularness of lines combined with the rich melodic tapestry associated with John Scofield. Vazquez is joined on the disc by saxophonist/flutist Art Falluca, a native of Rochester NY who also studies at Berklee, Mike Torres on bass and Angel Alonso or Bryan Morton on drums.
Of all the music on the disc, which is heavily oriented to what used to be called progressive instrumental rock, the best may be "Ode." The melody’s short motives, which pile on top of one another, form a short introduction to the blowing, which is what this tune is all about. Falluca’s solo is excellent. This kid has some real ability on saxophone and one should keep their eyes open for him in the future. He builds his solo carefully by elaborating on an opening idea and then turning it around into a variety of permutations, all the while building the excitement. He is ably backed by some great side statements by the rest of the band, including top notch drive by Morton. Vazquez’s solo follows and his shift midway through his solo to different guitar sound-effect fits with where his ideas lead. Morton then shows he has a great melodic sense of his own as he takes a turn with a solo of his own. Making drum solos interesting to non-percussionists is always tricky, but he shows he is as adept at creating his own lines as he is in support of others.
It is as a composer Vazquez shines the most on this disc. His writing shows a maturity and expressiveness one usually associates with jazz artists twice his age. He also makes two of his scores available for free download on his website, www.chrisvazquez.net. This resource should be taken special advantage of others to study how to construct chord and melodic lines that go well beyond sophomoric chatter.
Other highlights on the disc include Falluca’s flute solo on "Tomorrow’s Song" and Vazquez’s romp through the chords of "Spellbound." Though young, the members of this band should be watched to see how their abilities mature over time.