Slow down- climb out of the semi-tractor hauling the pipe organ, the Hammond and synths, the massive Rogers drumset and zillions of Zildjians, the Marshall amps and the Les Pauls.
Back away from the massive wall of sound, the fury and bombast of one arm of the lush and growing tree of progressive music.
Maybe find a delicate skiff or agile sailboat. JONATAN PINA DULUC requires a much more delicate, intricate, jazz-inspired vehicle.
Grizzled truckers need not apply.
Jonatan hails from the Dominican Republic- a multi-instrumentalist, who favors free- and acid-jazz, Caribbean-flavored sambas (or are these rhumbas- heck if I know, I’m an old white guy from the US of A.), and experimental art-music.
“Substancia” is his second album in as many years.
Now, try again
Once your gears are shifted, your progressive rock expectations slid off to the side, you begin to soak up the odd tempos, the dissonant and discordant guitar work, the slinky sax, the multi-layered percussion using bongos, congas, and “found instruments” to propel and undergird the tunes.
“Substance, or essence”, in four movements. Each with its own vibe, its own personality, the four winds, the four elements, the four corners of the universe.
In this universe, nothing is too noisy or gigantic. Everything is subtle, sometimes whimsical, other times intense.
Suddenly from the free-form wisps and wails and reverb-ed guitars, the sailing sax, the easy-going bass lines, a dance begins to emerge.
Ahhh, you settle back and imagine the figures on the shoreline, the campfire, the driftwood, the gulls.
People are swaying gently, there is laughter…
Then it dissolves.
Yet, it’s controlled pandemonium. It’s chaos, with dueling sax, guitar, melody lines in unison, then working off each other, finding the far stretches of harmony and pattern.
Take a look at that face
Yes, that’s Jonatan- at first glance, a studious, intelligent figure of a man…but is that sly humor glinting behind the dignified spectacles?
After all, the only “dance” that ISN’T subverted and bemused, is to be heard in the closing track.
“Sappy Times with The Royal Caribbean Mannequins”.
A subtle commentary on hordes of tourists disembarking to see the sparkling sands and the charming ‘natives’?
Somehow I pictured a Dominican Charles Chaplin (Carlos Chaplin?) dancing earnestly, wistfully with a one-armed mannequin that had washed up on the beach…
But it does bring things to an end.
We’ve journeyed through the essence of things, to some pages? blades? corn-husks used to roll a smoke? to some charm, and of course, the Royal Caribbean mannequins.
It’s a sweet, slightly unsettling, bright, very smart trail he’s set for us.
And yes, well worth the trip.
Progressive Rock Fanatics: Facebook
Progressive Rock Fanatics is a growing, vibrant community of progressive musicians, bands, DJ’s, record executives, artists, writers and critics, and fans, all devoted to spreading the word about progressive music.