4 1/2 STARS
"Present Moment," the first track on Gabriel Guerrero & Quantum's debut album, arrives like a torrent of exultation that only on occasion recedes. Even then, there is a pleasant tumult of harmonic tension, especially when Guerrero's piano bleeds into the tantalizing sonic expositions of Seth Trachy's saxophone. The track is like the preface to a book, a harbinger of expressive music that at its base exudes a Latin-flavored rhythm. Whether in a relaxed mode, as on "Permanent Diversion, Part 1 & 2," or the more explosive "Retrogression," there's an inviting coherence, a confection of melody that harkens at first back to hard-bop, and then ahead to a distinct futuristic sound.
A repetitive cluster of thundering chords drives "No Return," and they are suffused with enough chromaticism to induce a collage of invention from each of the performers. On "Ozpal," drummer Felix Lecaros shines with a relentless, yet controlled exuberance, which is in direct contrast to the meditative pace of things on "Expectation," where Will Slater's bass is the resonant center. There are two versions of "Belong" and no matter the choice, the note-for-note blend and surge of Guerrero and Trachy is beguiling, a veritable tour de force, and another instance of the unbridled creativity they possess.
I'm not sure what Equilibrio means, but if it suggests a collective gusto, then that'll work. This is just the group's first shot across the bow, and this superb beginning foretells a most promising excursion into whatever soundscape they choose to inhabit.