It is accepted for creative artists to tug on the reigns of the expected. In the worlds of jazz and contemporary music, musicians are instructed to respect the conventional parameters of the genre they learn. But it is for the musicians to push the limits of the rules in order to make new discoveries. The trio of Leo Genovese, Demian Cabaud, and Marcos Cavaleiro take such an unbridled approach to music making on their new recording, Estrellero.
Argentinean pianist Leo Genovese met his fellow countryman, bassist Demian Cabaud, while they both attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Their twenty-year friendship has never diminished, even as Cabaud settled in Porto, Portugal. It was in Portugal, that the duo met drummer Marcos Cavaleiro, a perfect musical match to Genovese and Cabaud.
The three musicians have developed a deep trust born from years of camaraderie, a feeling that brings comfort on the bandstand through their intuitive approach to group performance. The rarity of their meetings was magnified by the pandemic, leaving the triumvirate dreaming of getting together again. Once the travel restrictions were lifted, Genovese made sure to return to his friends in Portugal to perform and record.
Genovese and Cabaud were introduced to the idea of the estrellero by an Argentinean gaucho friend, Orlando Vera Cruz. An estrellero is a horse that can never be fully trained and, even when harnessed, continues to pull away, typically looking up toward the stars. The musicians found this a perfect metaphor for their musical journey, always being tethered to the rules of music but trying to look beyond and race ahead.
When the plan to record began to shape up, Genovese and Cabaud looked to their ever-expanding books of compositions, trying to discern which pieces asked to be played by this assembly of players. Once the repertoire was picked, the three met in Cara-Ojm Studio, near Porto, to record.
The album begins with Cabaud’s “Qom,” a dense, freewheeling piece that is inspired by the language of the indigenous Qom people of northeastern Argentina. Genovese’s bright “Stone Believer” was written after he received a blessed stone from a fan, the piece being about the power of connection and belief shared throughout the world. The pianist’s trance-like “Always” follows with a Gnawa inspired repetition, an ancient musical tool for connection and movement.
Cabaud’s meditative “Arbol Negro” takes its title from a Qom legend of a black tree that connects the earth and the skies. The title track finds Genovese performing on an ancient, forgotten, pump organ that was living unattended in the recording studio, giving the instrument a new chance to sing. “Aquel Lugar” was written without harmony as a meditation for Cabaud to revisit to find some peace of mind.
The churning of Cabaud’s “Un Rio” is meant to capture the current of the river over an Argentinean Zamba rhythm, while Genovese’s tempestuous “La Cueva Del Viento” was written immediately after a visit to the cave behind Niagara Falls. The recording concludes with Cabaud’s “Dia de la Madre,” a somber ode written on Mother’s Day when the bassist was missing his mother, wife, and children.
The trio of Leo Genovese, Demian Cabaud, and Marcos Cavaliero continue to pull against convention on their new recording, Estrellero.
released July 14, 2023
Leo Genovese - piano
Demian Cabaud - bass
Marcos Cavaleiro - drums