Electronica is not necessarily a
friend to jazz audiences. However, when played with the dexterity
presented by pianist Dario Boente and merged with acoustic stylings, the
result can be positive. That’s the approach to Boente’s Limelight
(Circular Moves / Sunnyside Records, 2015).
Boente employs a variable cast in small ensembles. For much of this
date, Antonio Sanchez handles drum duties. A different combination of
players assist throughout.
The title song begins the set. It’s a tranquil, easygoing piece. Boente
complements his piano play with use of keyboards, vocoder and additional
programming. Those elements add a haunting mood to some passages. His
accompanists are subtle, yet effective. Most noticeable among them are
Sanchez’s cymbal splashes and a brief moment when the bass emerges.
Boente injects a high dose of electronica for the cover of Herbie
Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” Accompanied only by Sanchez, the leader plays
Fender Rhodes electric piano, keyboards and vocoder. It gives the song a
sense of space flight. Sanchez mixes it up, shifting from tom rolls to
rim shots, with some effective slides on the high-hat. Highlights are
the Rhodes solo and the Sanchez kit workout.
“January 15th,” accented by the vocal call, “Why are we violent?” is a
soothing tribute to Martin Luther King, who was born on that date in
1929. Gary Foote steps in on electric bass, invoking a bit of Stanley
Clarke or Marcus Miller. The Rhodes leads much of the way, but Boente
makes the keyboards sing and wail, as if the instruments are mourning
the assassination of a man who sought peaceful solution to racial
problems in the United States of America.
Boente’s music bridges the jazz club and the dance club. He grew up in
Argentina and Spain. He studied at the Berklee College of Music in
Boston, the Guildhall School of Music in London and the New School Jazz
and Contemporary Music Program in New York City. Boente has performed in
more than 20 countries, and his compositions have been included in more
than two dozen albums and compilations.