The Catharsis Trio with Ryan Keberle
Acclaimed Trio features Ryan Keberle on trombone & keyboard, Chilean vocalist/guitarist Camila Meza, and Grammy- winning Pedro Giraudo on bass to form a super-trio guaranteed to raise the hair on your neck. Keberle's latest CD, The Hope I Hold, also features four Catharsis Trio tracks.
As with so many great working jazz bands, the trombonist and composer Ryan Keberle & Catharsis have become known for a specific, almost codified set of signatures. Critics writing for such outlets as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, Billboard, DownBeat and JazzTimes have praised Keberles inventive approach to small-group bandleading, writing and arranging. Take, for example, his groups purposeful lack of a chordal instrument, which allowed Keberle and company to focus on urgent counterpoint and elastic rhythmic interplay. Or the fact that one of Catharsis frontline instruments was the crystalline voice of Chilean singer Camila Meza. Or Keberles determined belief that music can be a catalyst for justice and positive social change.
But perhaps the most important unfolding on The Hope I Hold relates to the albums theme of optimism in the face of political and cultural corruption, building upon notions first expressed on 2017s acclaimed Catharsis release, Find the Common, Shine a Light. Keberles experience working with the lyricist and poet Mantsa Miro (a.k.a. Manca Weeks) helped to ignite a burgeoning interest in songwriting and the complex ways in which words can artfully meld with music. So when Keberle came across Let America Be America Again, a virtuosic poem written by Langston Hughes in 1935, he felt compelled to incorporate its eerily (and sadly) relevant verse into his new work. When I discuss this poem at concerts, the audience starts to chuckle once they hear the titlethey think Im joking, Keberle explains. They cant believe how similar it is to another slogan were hearing these days. Keberle appreciated the distinctly American duality at the poems core: Despite Hughes powerful and poignant assessment that the American Dream has been a fallacy for so many of the countrys disenfranchised citizens, the marathon piece also harbors a message of idealisma hope that that Dream could one day become a reality.
In its narratives, The Hope I Hold is also informed deeply by Keberles extensive recent touring, which he was able to partake in due to a year-long sabbatical from Hunter College, where hes been the director of jazz studies for the past 16 years. Wholly transformative, Keberles travels ranged far and wide, from the rural U.S. to all over Europe, Brazil, Cuba and Japan. In small town America, Keberle and his band found fervent, curious audiences with a serious thirst for the arts and culture that often goes unquenched; in Europe, with its considerable governmental support for the arts, listeners were, not surprisingly, discerning as well as enthusiastic. As in Cuba, exuberant music seemed to soundtrack every waking moment of life in Brazil; but below the festive South American rhythms on the street was an overwhelming specter of corporatization and corruption. If youve ever wondered what the United States might look like after another 20 years of the kind of deregulation that our current administration is working hard to institute, Keberle says, just travel to Brazil.
The music of Brazilespecially the genre-bending, psychedelia-tinged work of Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, Toninho Horta, Sérgio Mendes and othersis a potent influence on Keberles new album, along with so many other ideas and idioms. The albums flagship is its Hughes-inspired namesake suite, a product of Chamber Music Americas New Jazz Works grant program. The lead-off track, Tangled in the Ancient Endless Chain, acts as an overture of sorts, warming listeners up to Catharsis new sonic palette. Despite the Dream underscores Keberles recent obsession with South American music. A snowballing dirge, America Will Be is a stunning metaphor for strife through sound, and fans of Mezas guitar playing will be surprised by her role here as an avant-rock provocateur. The nimble orchestral momentum of Fooled and Pushed Apart anticipates the retro atmosphere of Campinas, which wears its trippy Brazilian influences on its sleeve. (Keyboard collectors take note: Those great space-age analog synth tones are coming from Keberles Korg Minilogue.)
The trio portion, a kind of album-within-the-album that fits in seamlessly nonetheless, begins with Mezas tender tour de force Para Volar, and continues with Roeders beautiful Peering, which constitutes the first of the bassists original compositions to appear on a recording. On the heartrending Zamba, by the legendary Argentinean folksinger Cuchi Leguizamón, Meza and Roeder form a breathtaking vocal tandem. An evocative new trio arrangement of Keberles Become the Water finds the trombonist on keyboard and harmony vocals.
Closing out the project is a return to the title suite called Epilogue: Make America Againtwo minutes of stately, majestic harmony that Keberle describes as a musical prayer for peace.
The Seasons Performance Hall (View)
101 N Naches Ave
Yakima, WA 98901
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