Pianist Javi Santiago is a graduate of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and a product of the prestigious Brubeck Institute Fellowship Program. The young musician recently released his first EP with Corey Fonville on drums, Zach Brown on bass, and Tamara Renée on vocals, entitled Year of the Horse. Stream three tracks below and read more about the album.
“The Year Of The Horse is about change – change within ourselves and ultimately, within the world. I hope that this project can heal us all from the inside out. As humans, we need to live in harmony with each other as well as with the earth. This way, we can create and not destroy. I wrote this music from my heart, with love, in hopes to inspire everyone to create something too, and never stop creating.” – Javi Santiago
Year of the Horse kicks of with “Trance” a groovy and entrancing track with hints of Glasper although mainly due to the choice of orchestration with Santiago on Rhodes. Santiago is featured with a poised yet effective solo while Fonville shines on drums throughout the piece.
Follows “Plutonian (TD2)” a relatively short, calm and atmospheric composition which seems almost dystopian at first and “Year of the Horse” an equally short track featuring a repeating pattern which slowly develops on keys until it gets accentuated by backing vocals and Santiago on trumpet.
“For Unity”, for which Santiago switches to the acoustic trio format, is the highlight of the EP for me. The track features an extended solo by Santiago which is both methodical and elaborate. The song then culminates in a rhythmic climax as synthesizer embellishments reprise the melody one last time in tandem with the piano while Fonville is unleashed on drums
“Lionel’s Tune” closes out the album. It’s a well rounded tune which gracefully highlights Santiago’s pleasant mastery of the keys.
The Year of the Horse is a beautifully crafted work which leaves us wanting more as most EPs do. Santiago is a gifted performer and composer who shows serious potential. We will be looking out for a full-fledged album in the future.