Carlos Maza: Descanso del Saltimbanqui (RJAL 397013)

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Carlos Maza
Descanso del Saltimbanqui

Carlos Maza 10-string guitar, piano
Recorded on March 14-16, 2011 and mixed on January 3, 2012 at Studios La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Steinway preparation and tuning by Alain Massonneau
Produced by Gérard de Haro, RJAL and Lautaro for La Buissonne
Release date: April 17, 2012

Ten-string guitarist and pianist Carlos Maza makes his La Buissonne debut in a session imbued with as many influences as there are melodies to contain them. Louis Sclavis describes his music as follows: “It’s Latin America having fun with Europe, it’s a Spanish guitar in an Indian’s hands, an Inca flute that’s slipped into a sonata by Liszt.” If anything can be gleaned from this assessment, beyond an obvious eclecticism, it’s that Maza adapts his shape and gestures to suit whatever waters in which he happens to find himself swimming at any given moment.

In his hands, the guitar serves as both pigment and paper. Between the zoetrope of “El tren de Hershey” and the Polaroid of “Magia y ascenso,” a nostalgic chain of imagery sways in time with the ways things were. Every strum sweeps away the dirt of maturation so that children may re-inscribe it with the signatures of their play. Personal favorites include “Levántate negrita” for its melodic purity and “Altas y bajas” for its roughly hewn unfolding, as if distant mountains were a score to be deciphered. Wordless singing gives voice to the longing that permeates this music.

Maza’s piano is not only a different instrument but also its own continent altogether. Whether in the bipolar “Remando hacia el Sol” (brooding one moment, sparkling the next) or the virtuosic “Rosacolis,” the contradictory language of love is paramount, shifting phases like the moon across a calendar month. The five-part “El Amor en tiempos de crisis” is everything that came before and more. Joy and exuberance share the field with melancholy and heartache, finishing with a dance through sunlit pastures.

This is duly intimate music making, never a challenge (unless you have perfect pitch, as the guitar has some tuning issues) but always a comfort, as if the very sky were pulled over us for a blanket of stars.

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