For Your Softer Spots (Admit It: You DO Have Them!)

AXIS TRIO – Anthem

A 2010 release from a trio featuring pianist and composer Amino Belyamani, bassist Sam Minaie and percussionist Qasim Naqvi. Though all three artists have family roots firmly planted in non-Western heritage, their music is frequently very Western in its attempt to bewitch the largest number of listeners through an occasionally fascinating formula, which inserts mild electronic disturbance amidst textures where softly evocative chord progressions interlock within cyclical patterns and structures that privilege soft transparency to extreme complication. It’s definitely a pleasing listen, not a hint to slapdash playing in sight. But it’s also one of the numerous cases in which the group’s real personality does not emerge in full, and too often we were brought to compare sonorities with those of more famous, and commercially compromised, entities (Lyle Mays, Rainer Brüninghaus). The fear – as always – is that the search for critical accolades will ultimately interfere with the genuinely creative urges. (Accretions)

CARLOS MAZA – Descanso Del Saltimbanqui

Let’s see. An excellent multi-instrumentalist, specializing in 10-string guitar and piano. Classical influences well displayed (more Romanticism than XX century). One of the projects – at least from what’s watchable at YouTube – is called “En Familia”. OK, I hear you say: Egberto Gismonti! Wrong: this man is named Carlos Maza and he hails from Chile, though Cuba also constitutes a sizeable component of his artistic development. Descanso Del Saltimbanqui is a beautifully executed record that should have no problem in establishing a direct connection with the heart of people who love a little bit of everything, provided that it is played with refinement and tenderness and not excessively straining on the nerves, or overly adventurous in terms of sonic investigation. It’s not exactly coinciding with this writer’s favourite type of listening, but there’s no question about the honesty and dedication of the composer. (La Buissonne)

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