Marcos Varela

San Ygnacio

Origin 82711

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...his tone, choice of notes and compositions will place his playing and name on the list of bassists to be heard.
- Ron Carter

Though a well-established member of New York's jazz scene for the past 12 years, bassist and composer Marcos Varela looks to his family's ancestral home of San Ygnacio, Texas and his trek still in progress as inspiration for his debut recording. Pulling together mentors and brothers in music - including master drummer Billy Hart, pianist George Cables, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and trombonist Clifton Anderson - they supply a warm depth of spirit to this collection of compositions, some from the playlists from his tours with the bands of Billy Hart, Winard Harper, and Clifton Anderson, along with Varela's own originals. From his family's move to present day Southern Texas from old-world Spain, his youth in Houston with its deep blues and church music influences, and his years in NY performing constantly with legendary masters and highly-regarded peers, "San Ygnacio" offers an exciting introduction to a dynamic musical voice.


Track Listing:

1 I Should Care [6:12]
2 Colinas de Santa Maria [8:55]
3 Mitsuru [5:46]
4 Lullaby for Imke [7:54]
5 Sister Gemini [5:52]
6 Pepper [6:19]
7 Red on Planet Pluto [8:40]
8 Looking for the Light [9:08]
9 Picturesque [4:40]
10 Where the Wild Things Are (Intro) [2:51]
11 Where the Wild Things Are [6:33]

Performers:

Marcos Varela - bass
George Cables - piano
Billy Hart - drums
Logan Richardson - alto sax (1,4,8,10,11)
Arnold Lee - alto sax (2), soprano sax (7)
Dayna Stephens - tenor sax (6)
Eden Ladin - piano (2,7)
Kush Abadey - drums (2,7)
Clifton Anderson - trombone (3,5)

Production Info:

Produced by Marcos Varela
Recorded & mixed by Andy Taub at Brooklyn Recording
Recorded on September 30th and October 7th, 2012
Mastered by Gene Paul at Gene Paul Mastering
"Colinas de Santa Maria" and "Red on Planet Pluto" recorded at IAR studios with Rich Blakin engineering
Session photography by Victoria Febrer
Cover design & layout by John Bishop


Reviews of San Ygnacio

All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan)
4-STARS Bassist Marcos Varela, Houston-bred and now New York-based, opens his recording debut, San Ygnacio, with a big, brash version of the standard, "I Should Care." His rhythm section is rounded out by veteran pianist George Cables and drum icon Billy Hart, so a free swinging zest is expected, and delivered. Logan Richardson on alto sax makes ...

BeBop Spoken Here (UK) (Lance Liddle)
One of the many highlights of last year's GIJF was the session by "The Cookers". A session that featured high on many of our 'Gig of the Year' listings and justifiably so. When I noted that two of those gig-scarred veterans, Hart and Cables, were on this album I shuffled it to the top of the pile without apology! Hart's drumming is everythin ...

Republic of Jazz (Domi)
Drawing on collaborators from throughout his time in New York, Varela assembles a stand-out cast of veterans and peers. The album's core rhythm section is composed of two jazz giants: pianist George Cables, a key mentor, and drummer Billy Hart, one of Varela's earliest employers. They're joined by another longtime employer, trombonist Clifton Ander ...

Amazon (Scott Albin)
Although Marcos Varela was born and raised in Houston, his roots go back to the tiny Texas town of San Ygnacio and the family ranch that dates back to at least the 1750's-- hence this album's title. From Varela's New York City base of the past 12 years, the active bassist has performed with such artists as Jason Moran, Geri Allen, the Mingus Big ...

Jazz Weekly (George W. Harris)
Houston raised and NYC based, Marcos Varela brings his bass to lead a team of adroit all stars on this rich collection of material. The core rhythm team of himself with George Cables/p and Billy Hart/dr are a force unto themselves, creating sparks on a trio track "Picturesque" while horn players Logan Richardson/as, Clifton Anderson/tb, Dayna Ste ...

Improvijazzation (Rotcod Zzaj)
Wow! What an extreme change of pace… from Klezmer/tuba-led, to a bass-led group in full jazz mode on a debut album that will simply stun your aural appendages… you'll think you're in one of those smokey back-room clubs at 3:00 am as you listen to the beautiful synchronicity of Marcos's bass on tunes like the 6:11 high-energy opener, "I Should ...

Classicalite (Mike Greenblatt)
Although his family goes back to the 1700s in San Ygnacio, Texas, bassist Marcos Varela honed his chops in New York City. With the Origin Records release of San Ygnacio, the young bandleader/composer bridges the generational gap within his own band by adhering to the tics of such famed jazzbos as pianist George Cables, drummer Billy Hart and trombo ...

Downbeat Magazine (Bob Protzman)
***1/2 If you were a young bassist-composer releasing your album debut as a leader, you'd want Ron Carter writing your liner notes. Such was the case for Marcos Varela, whose San Ygnacio unites eight of the finest musicians in New York for an admirable 11-track program. Varela is keenly aware of the significance and influence of Carter, but ...

Jazzed (Christian Wissmuller)
Bassist Marcos Varela is one of the young bright lights on the NYC jazz scene. A native of Houston, he attended that city's renowned High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, where his fellow alumni include Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, and Beyonce. Varela arrived in NYC to continue his studies at the New School, le ...

Bass Musician Magazine (Valery Amador)
New York City is a long way from tiny San Ygnacio, Texas – not only measured in miles (around 2,000, for the record) but also in temperament. Born and raised in Houston, bassist Marcos Varela nonetheless traces his roots back to the historic Texas town where his family has lived on the same ranch since at least the 1750s. Based in New York for th ...

Bass Player (John D\'Auria)
The latest album by young New York-based doubler Varela shows he can swing with the best of them, as exhibited on the opening track, "I Should Care." Varela's solo at the halfway point bursts with harmony, as he speeds his way up and down the fingerboard with precision. While the album as a whole is a melting pot of styles and vibes, it all merg ...

JazzTimes (Britt Robson)
Houston keeps churning out stellar jazz artists. One of the latest, and brightest, is bassist Marcos Varela, who is talented enough to have been mentored by Ron Carter and employed by Billy Hart and Clifton Anderson during his dozen years in New York, smart enough to enlist drummer Hart, trombonist Anderson and pianist George Cables to play on San ...

JazzdaGama (Raul da Gama )
Marcos Varela is a name new to me, but a veritable household name among musical cognoscenti in New York and elsewhere in America. Moreover he is a bassist who emerges from the performance on San Ygnacio with great credit - imaginative, capricious, and lyrical, and with technique aplenty in reserve. At times on the disc he can be, let's say, literal ...

New York City Jazz Record (Terrell Holmes)
Listen to Marcos Varela's San Ygnacio and its' clear that this bassist not only knows how to make excellent straightahead jazz, he makes it sound easy. It's not surprising that the album is so good, considering those Varela has playing with him, all fine composers and arrangers themselves. All one needs to do is look at Varela's counterparts in ...

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