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Tino Contreras|La Noche de los Dioses

La Noche de los Dioses

Tino Contreras

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While in Tokyo in 2018, musical impresario and Brownswood Recordings boss Gilles Peterson found and purchased a copy of Tino Contreras' 1979 classic Musica Infinita. The following year in Mexico City, he was introduced to Contreras through record collector and musician Carlos Icaza. Peterson licensed Musica Infinita to inaugurate his reissue label, Arc Records. He also signed the iconic Mexican musician to cut a new album for Brownswood. With Icaza producing, the nonagenarian Contreras went straight to work and completed La Noche de los Dioses with an octet that included his nephew Valentino on bass and his producer on pre-Hispanic percussion and Arp Harmonic synths. La Noche de los Dioses displays the hallmark qualities Contreras has developed over 75 years. His compositions meld music from various jazz periods -- from swing and hard bop to modal and vanguard -- with gritty lounge blues, exotica, and folk musics from several nations. The title track draws inspiration from the Aztec goddess Coatlicue (representing life and death) and the god Huitzilopochtli (representing war and the sun). The tune's deep blue feel features a grooving dialogue between piano, organ, soprano and tenor saxophones, electric guitar, bongos, and early percussion instruments. "Máscaras Blues" represents the masked rituals between gods in Aztec tradition. It is introduced by Contreras' tom-tom-heavy kit and Icaza's instruments before Jaime Reyes' piano sets a Latin groove. Rhythms shape-shift and expand throughout. "Naboró" is named for the goddess who, Contreras imagines, represents rebellion and feminine strength. The Afro-Latin groove shines with a canny dialogue between Emmanuel Laboriel's steel and nylon string guitars, guajira piano, swirling organ, bluesy tenor sax, and a steamy, sultry bass line. The modal frame in "Malinche" offers an Afro-Carribean piano vamp that frames spectral electric guitars, metal percussion, and hand drums. Contreras' deft cymbal feints and fills under Luis Calatayud's fluid, grainy, emotive tenor sax. Advance single "El Sacrificio" is classic Contreras; it showcases a plethora of Latin polyrhythms, Middle Eastern and North African modalism, and swinging hard bop. "Al Amanecer" is a humid collision between modern son -- with wild piano montunos from Reyes -- exotica, spacy post-bop, and grimy electric guitar blues. Closer "Niña Yahel" weaves many of Contreras' musical obsessions, from guaracha and rumba to psychedelia and funky exotica, into a seamless whole with bleating tenor, smoldering organ, snaky electric guitars, a nasty fuzzed-out bass line, harmonic synth, and of course, multivalent layers of percussion. Contreras, ever unintrusive, rolls, fills, lays down unexpected rimshots, and rides his cymbals with elegance while conducting the band from his kit. La Noche de los Dioses is delightfully accessible to listeners of many stripes. So much so that its welcoming grooves, warm, enveloping production, and rainbow of sounds can initially distract from the sheer musical sophistication on offer. At 96, Contreras remains a vitally creative musician and explorer; the basket of traditions and sounds he creates and weaves are nothing less than astonishing and almost shamanic in their emotional and spiritual power.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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La Noche de los Dioses

Tino Contreras

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1
La Noche de los Dioses
00:06:22

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

2
Máscaras Blues
00:04:28

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

3
Naboró
00:05:55

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

4
Malinche
00:06:03

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

5
El Sacrificio
00:05:38

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

6
Al Amanecer
00:05:54

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

7
Niña Yahel
00:05:46

Tino Contreras, Composer, MainArtist - Brownswood Recordings, MusicPublisher

2020 Brownswood Recordings 2020 Brownswood Recordings

Album Description

While in Tokyo in 2018, musical impresario and Brownswood Recordings boss Gilles Peterson found and purchased a copy of Tino Contreras' 1979 classic Musica Infinita. The following year in Mexico City, he was introduced to Contreras through record collector and musician Carlos Icaza. Peterson licensed Musica Infinita to inaugurate his reissue label, Arc Records. He also signed the iconic Mexican musician to cut a new album for Brownswood. With Icaza producing, the nonagenarian Contreras went straight to work and completed La Noche de los Dioses with an octet that included his nephew Valentino on bass and his producer on pre-Hispanic percussion and Arp Harmonic synths. La Noche de los Dioses displays the hallmark qualities Contreras has developed over 75 years. His compositions meld music from various jazz periods -- from swing and hard bop to modal and vanguard -- with gritty lounge blues, exotica, and folk musics from several nations. The title track draws inspiration from the Aztec goddess Coatlicue (representing life and death) and the god Huitzilopochtli (representing war and the sun). The tune's deep blue feel features a grooving dialogue between piano, organ, soprano and tenor saxophones, electric guitar, bongos, and early percussion instruments. "Máscaras Blues" represents the masked rituals between gods in Aztec tradition. It is introduced by Contreras' tom-tom-heavy kit and Icaza's instruments before Jaime Reyes' piano sets a Latin groove. Rhythms shape-shift and expand throughout. "Naboró" is named for the goddess who, Contreras imagines, represents rebellion and feminine strength. The Afro-Latin groove shines with a canny dialogue between Emmanuel Laboriel's steel and nylon string guitars, guajira piano, swirling organ, bluesy tenor sax, and a steamy, sultry bass line. The modal frame in "Malinche" offers an Afro-Carribean piano vamp that frames spectral electric guitars, metal percussion, and hand drums. Contreras' deft cymbal feints and fills under Luis Calatayud's fluid, grainy, emotive tenor sax. Advance single "El Sacrificio" is classic Contreras; it showcases a plethora of Latin polyrhythms, Middle Eastern and North African modalism, and swinging hard bop. "Al Amanecer" is a humid collision between modern son -- with wild piano montunos from Reyes -- exotica, spacy post-bop, and grimy electric guitar blues. Closer "Niña Yahel" weaves many of Contreras' musical obsessions, from guaracha and rumba to psychedelia and funky exotica, into a seamless whole with bleating tenor, smoldering organ, snaky electric guitars, a nasty fuzzed-out bass line, harmonic synth, and of course, multivalent layers of percussion. Contreras, ever unintrusive, rolls, fills, lays down unexpected rimshots, and rides his cymbals with elegance while conducting the band from his kit. La Noche de los Dioses is delightfully accessible to listeners of many stripes. So much so that its welcoming grooves, warm, enveloping production, and rainbow of sounds can initially distract from the sheer musical sophistication on offer. At 96, Contreras remains a vitally creative musician and explorer; the basket of traditions and sounds he creates and weaves are nothing less than astonishing and almost shamanic in their emotional and spiritual power.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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