Fabian Almazan & Rhizome

Released in 2017

DownBeat Five-Star Review

YouTube: https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=8YxH2H1MMuA&list=OLAK5uy_mJKL0OGf0SRdCVci6f2yM62i1RirBZfT8


Alcanza (Spanish for “reach”) is a nine movement suite of music that deals with those brief moments in our lives in which one second changes everything- or at least gives us a remarkable new perception of our condition. It also deals with the process of finding our own path as we go from childhood into adulthood; reflecting the beauty, frustrations and paradoxes of modern-day life and not giving up on reaching for everything in life that brings us joy and love.

Track Listing:

1. Alcanza Suite: I. Vida Absurda y Bella (Rhizome) 05:43 

2. Alcanza Suite: II. Marea Baja (Rhizome) 06:35

3. Alcanza Suite: III. Verla (Rhizome) 03:21

4. La Voz De Un Piano (Fabian Almazan) 02:11

5. Alcanza Suite: IV. Mas (Rhizome) (feat. Camila Meza) 03:50

6. Alcanza Suite: V. Tribu T9 (Rhizome) 05:46

7. La Voz De Un Bajo (Rhizome / Linda May Han Oh) 02:16

8. Alcanza Suite: VI. Cazador Antiguo (Rhizome) 05:56

9. La Voz De La Percusión (Rhizome / Henry Cole) 01:05

10. Alcanza Suite: VII. Pater Familias (Rhizome) 08:39

11. Alcanza Suite: VIII. Este Lugar (Rhizome) 09:18

12. Alcanza Suite: IX. Marea Alta (Rhizome) 04:51


Fabian Almazan: piano, electronics

Camila Meza: voice and guitar

Linda Oh: bass

Henry Cole: drums

Megan Gould: violin I

Tomoko Omura: violin II

Karen Waltuch: viola

Noah Hoffeld: cello

Recorded February 14-15, 2016, at Avatar Studios, New York City
Engineered by Tyler McDiarmid 
Assistant Engineer: Thom Beemer 
Mixed by David Darlington 
Mastered by Dave Kutch at the Mastering Palace 
Mixing Prep and Transferring: Frank Wolf


Jazz with strings typically means “jazz with sweetening,” with violins and cellos doing little more than fluffing up the harmony. That was largely the case with Rhizome, pianist Fabian Almazan’s last album, in which a string quartet added cushioning chords to the sound of his jazz quartet. There’s nothing saccharine about the ninepart suite that makes up Alcanza. Its flavors are bold and complicated, evoking a range of emotions—melancholy, wonder, passion, joy, awe— in what is often a densely contrapuntal swirl of sound. There are times when it seems more classical than not, as in the third part, “Verla,” where the inner voices of the string quartet not only carry the harmonic movement but whisper the depths of the composer’s feelings. But there are also moments where the playing delivers the energy of a collective improvisation, even though the interlocking melodies and rhythms follow a preordained compositional logic. As is the case with music that blurs the lines between jazz and classical, it’s not easy to discern what’s written and what isn’t. Almazan does provide solo slots—cadenzas, almost—for himself, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Henry Cole, and there’s a looseness to the pounding “Cazador Antiguo” that suggests a score with few commands. Then again, given that the album’s title translates as “reach,” it’s fitting that Alcanza should offer such range to the listener, from the surfeit of melody to the inventively complex rhythmic structures folded into the interwoven themes.

J.D. Considine (DownBeat)