September 2006

Davide Virelles / Luis Deniz
September 16, 2006at the First Annual LMR Barbecue
Sumptuous Delicacies
by Paul J. Youngman with photo by Roger Humbert
I was invited to attend a private party recently for the LMR webzine, fortunately for me I actually made it out to this one, it was a great party. The highlight for me, and a few others I believe, was the live music. I think every party should have live music. This especially holds true for an outfit that calls itself the Live Music Report. The last party I was at that had live music was a fundraiser for a group that wanted to perform in Japan. The band was the Jay Douglas All Stars; they were playing a mix of R&B, Funk, Blues and pop standards. That was four years ago, but it stands out as one of my most memorable occasions.

This party featured a duet, Davide Virelles (piano) and Luis Deniz (saxophone). Virelles and Deniz do not play relaxed music, they don’t play music from the past, there is no melancholy or sense of old is new again. These young artists play music that is exciting, captivating and contemporary. On this night, they did play four standards but although the melodies were stated at the outset after that, the tunes became their own. The pulse, conviction and direction were new and original.

Back to that night — Virelles opens with a beautiful melody, pushing the rhythm along at a rapid pace. In this intimate setting, playing for a small yet attentive and appreciative audience he digs in deeper, forcing the notes to sing pure. You are pulled into the creative process hypnotized by the flowing movements of his fingers as they glide from note to chord. He will mix in a run on the right hand add some dynamics with a well placed grouping of deep, full toned chords with the left, the focus is intense, the spirit radiating.
Luis Deniz has been attentive as well, watching waiting for that right moment, he glides in at just the right spot; there could be no other one, but this one. The dynamics are elevated to another dimension as Deniz guides his alto saxophone through a delightful soundscape. Blending in and sharing the creativity. To watch Deniz play, you see a laid-back persona, cool, possibly detached; this proficient exterior masks a passion that runs deep. A fiery player who plays with intelligence, you know he is a heads up player, always listening, picking his notes just so. I don’t believe he can play a wrong note, if per chance he should; it would immediately be bent, sustained and manipulated into the ebb and flow of the music. Luis Deniz is mostly a lyrical player tonight, a beautiful tone that he lays down on the melody and paints a picture of a love supreme.

Virelles leads the duet through four tunes, playing for about an hour, trading solos, complementing each other as they compose. The climax to the performance had Virelles playing an incredible solo, playing an upright piano and transforming it into a baby grand. He seems to be enjoying running the keyboard, he has in the past named at least forty influences and each has an opportunity to peak out, glorious sounds, left hand ascending and right hand descending, a little bit of stride care of Fats Waller, “I pretend I can play stride”, he would tell me later, as I compliment his stride stylings.

I feel we have witnessed a masterful performance by these incredible artists. I only wish that someone had recorded this performance so that others could share in the delight of this fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime, musical experience. These exact same progressions and notes will never be played exactly the same way ever again. The next time you consider throwing a party, make sure to invite some artists/musicians, nothing beats live music for adding a new and exciting dimension. Wonderful memories to behold for an eternity.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report
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© The Live Music Report – 2006