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Kotebel - Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble CD (album) cover

CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ELECTRIC ENSEMBLE

Kotebel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 262 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars I fell in love with Kotebel with 2006's Omphalos (one of my Top Ten favorite albums of the Naughties). At that time the band had, IMHO, the finest female vocalist in modern prog music (Carolina Prieto) and arguably the greatest flutest ever in prog history (Omar Acosta). By 2009, with the recording and release of Ouroboros they both had left the band (or, perhaps, they were not asked back). Thus my expectations for Ouroboros were quite low and were, accordingly, duly rewarded. (The music just couldn't draw me in.) Now for 2012's Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble I was willing to give them another chance; I figured that six years is long enough for such creative and virtuosic artists to compose something fresh and mature. And how right I was! This is an amazing album of melodic jazz-rock constructed within classical symphonic structures. The pianist, Adriana, daughter of band founder Carlos Plaza Vega, while no Hiromi, stands quite strongly with the rest of the band and within the setting of the four-movement 43-minute Concerto does quite well both leading the ensemble as well as supporting it in an orchestral way. In song after song drums, bass, electronic keyboards, and a great variety of guitars (pleasantly, a lot of wonderful acoustic guitar playing) together weave the fabric of wonderful music. At times I find myself reminded of ELP, King Crimson, Return to Forever, Weather Report, SBB, Nil, and After Crying.

While I absolutely love the "Concerto," the "Hippogriff" series takes one on a very nice journey. Part 1 takes off at top speed--to the point of reckless abandon in which the players often feel as thought they are just on the edge of losing control, losing their coherence. Then "The Dance of Shiva" and "Part 2" carry one into more tranquil, visual sonic soundscapes using lots of synths and space to tell their story.

The finale, "The Infant," establishes itself kind of slowly with a piano sound/melody/feel similar to early TOTO. The rhythm section eventually informs the listener that this is no TOTO (fine group that they were) but a much more classically-oriented band. But, wait! The jazzy sax seems to draw us back into a more cinematic place. Crossing genres so seemlessly, effortlessly is what makes this album, IMO, a sure fire masterpiece of progressive rock music. Well done Kotebel! This will be a tough album to beat for 2012 Album of the Year!

P.S. Just curious: Does anyone know where Carolina Prieto and Omar Acosta are now?

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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