Mexican-born Hugo Fernandez is a modern jazz guitarist who follows up his well-received debut album Origenes
(CDbaby, 2012) with the new modern-styled Cosmogram
featuring eight sophisticated original compositions in a generally warm-natured set of light and engaging modern jazz. A graduate of the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Fernandez decided to move to Madrid, Spain where he is now based where he draws from an international pool of musicians to perform with and record.
Fernandez, who shares an affinity for the seven-string acoustic guitar, and plays it quite well, delivers this project - with the exception of Cuban saxophonist Ariel Bringuez - featuring a new quartet that includes fellow countryman, drummer Antonio Sanchez and Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel resulting in a first-class rhythm section that hums.
The music kicks off on the spacious "Reconciliacion" where the guitarist leads the group in a moderate tempo piece that, though takes a while to develop, sets the stage for the rest of the repertoire. Saxophonist Bringuez comes out in a pronounced role as almost a co-leader on much of the music. Nevertheless, it's Fernandez's guitar voice that provides the majority of the solo space with one riff after another on piece after piece.
The saxophonist takes to the soprano on the following softer "Metro," and gentler "Sublime" while Fernandez seems to use the electric guitar here though, it's not clearly stated on the cover whether or not he does. Both bassist Miguel and drummer Sanchez take their turns in the spot light with brisk solo moments of their own on the intriguing "Sublime." The tune "Auras" definitely has some elements of the Middle-Eastern sound whether intended or not while "Un-Balanced" comes across a bit dark.
The closing "Bakio" and finale piece "Yap," each poses qualities that mark them squarely within the modern/futuristic camps in term of the sounds produced. Hugo Fernandez joins the many young modern-style guitar players that have emerged of late in the jazz world however, the music contained in Cosmogram should be more than sufficient to separate this excellent artist from the rest of the pack. Armed with creative compositions and a band of first-call musicians to interpret his provocative sound, Cosmogram is a serious recording deserving of attention.