Exposé Online banner

Miguel de Armas — What's to Come
((Not on label) no#, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-06-05

What's to Come Cover art

Cuban pianist Miguel de Armas makes his album debut under his own name with What’s to Come, a collection of ten varied tunes that presents his nimble keyboard work with a backing of bass and percussion, plus varying other instruments on the different tracks. In spite of the billing as a quartet, de Armas and drummer / percussionist Michel Madrano are the only musicians to appear on all the tracks. They are joined by bassist Marc Decho on most tracks, though Roberto Riverón and Mathieu Sénéchal handle the low end at times. Two different guitarists (Elmer Ferrer and Galen Weston) shine one one track each; two percussionists (Arien Villegas and Carlitos Medrano) fill out the rhythm on most tracks; and other guests include Alexis Baró (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jane Burnett (soprano sax), and Alexandre Laborde (accordion). Piano forms the backbone of all the pieces, but de Armas does venture into different synth sounds at times, providing a welcome change of pace. Stylistically, he presents an integrated blend of latin and jazz, sliding the balance between the two poles from side to side on different tracks. His playing is lyrical and melodic, and the lead lines are catchy without sounding cliché. The percussion is what really makes the music, however, presenting infectious grooves on every track, sometimes slow and sensuous, sometimes energetic and bouncy. The two guitar spotlights are both excellent, with Ferrer’s legato playing bringing Allan Holdsworth to mind on “A Song for My Little Son,” and when combined with the percussion, resembling Holdsworth’s short stint in Gong. Weston’s turn on “His Bass and Him” has a little more edge to it, though the track focuses on other instruments more, leaving him only a short solo. My favorite track is “Freddie’s Drink,” which closes out the album on a high-energy note, with a busy unison bass line on piano and electric bass that jumps out of the gate and leads into a lush melodic line. Sénéchal gets the bass solo on this one, with a flashy blues-inflected section backed by congas and sparse chords from piano and synth. After a percussion break, a coda features an echoey synth lead that finishes the piece nicely. What’s to Come is a fun album to listen to, with the percussion especially sounding crystal clear in the mix, and with no tracks over six minutes in length, there’s no time wasted on over-indulgent soloing.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Miguel de Armas

More info
http://www.migueldearmas.com/contact/

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Haze - In the End: 1978 - 1988 – In the End: 1978-1988 is a compilation of various tracks that chronicle the 10 year existence of one the more undeservedly obscure UK progressive bands. In their early days, the band suffered from...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues