There are few bands that operate entirely sin genre. Duende Libre is one of them. Nominally jazz, I guess, as the trio plays largely jazz clubs and has received most of its press from jazz types. But keyboardist Alex Chadsey, percussionist Jeff "Bongo" Busch and (electric) bassist Farko Dosumov keep that jazz label affixed quite loosely on their lapels.
Which is to say that these boys could play almost any show or festival. Could they open up for the Flaming Lips? Yes. Paul Simon? In a heartbeat? David Byrne? Absolutely. A double bill with Bela Fleck? Duh.
But blending genres and sounds is one thing. Bringing those ideas together and tying them up in a gorgeous package is another. Duende Libre always has its ear toward the music. Does it work? I hear moments where the boys might well have wanted to throw more in the pot, but they restrained themselves. The broth was perfect just as it was.
That sort of ear for composition and arrangement is just one reason this album exudes sheer joy. If somehow you are not smitten after a minute, then you are excused. Duende Libre is an immediate ear-catcher. And once hooked, the depth of this music will drag you under. Willingly.
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