This is Oliver Miguel’s second recording as a leader and the first since the 2003 Esperanza. Miguel is still a very young man however his maturity from a musical standpoint is above and beyond anything I would expect after looking at the cover of his new CD Aire. He still looks very young and it throws you off until the CD starts spinning. Make no mistake he is a seasoned veteran and has been very busy in between solo albums contributing to other projects and performing live. As the first track unravels before you, and you start to absorb all the sounds you realize that while listening to “Still Here & There” that is this is a man who knows exactly what he is doing.
There is so much here to offer a listener. The term world jazz is absolutely appropriate for Aire. There is so much for you to digest here and the affect it has on the triangle of life is prolific if you let the music melt into your soul. Body, mind and spirit become one while listening to this heavenly blend of sounds. I know that sounds a bit intense but if you really let yourself feel this music it can make an immense impression on you. It is music to calm and soothe the savage beast within if you will or the one that is always chatting inside your head, whatever demons that you need to drive away, they will make a quick exit. With so much emotion pouring out of Miguel’s sax you just have to listen to the album more than once to get it all processed.
Miguel gets plenty of help from his friends on this album. His sax leads the way like the pied piper but plenty of credit needs to be given to his accompaniment. The people that put the world into Miguel’s jazz are brilliant consistently throughout this masterful effort. There are many including stalwarts Ruben Bocaranda (drums), Sergio Fernandez (percussion), Henry “Hank” Insell (bass), the list goes on and on then and Oliver chips in with guitar, keys and vocals to round things out, not to mention production duties.
The fact that Miguel is a multi instrumentalist is important and he obviously has the respect of his peers and it shows with all the marvelous results on every track. The flamenco guitar provided by Idan Balas on “Without Her” is music from the heavens. That Latin touch makes the song and gives it the world feel that follows the jazz so well on Aire. Although this is primarily an instrumental work “This Crazy Feeling” grabs the spotlight for a while with vocals from Zoe Theodoro that will melt you like butter.
There is just too many good things going on with Aire to even look for imperfections, well besides, how do you find that when there is nothing but consistency? This is an excellent album that is highly recommended for jazz listeners with an ear for world blends and the fusion of jazz.
Key Tracks: Without Her, Mi Cometita (Con Colitas), This Crazy Feeling
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikReviews.com Founder
September 7, 2010