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Genius pianist David Virelles has enjoyed most of his popular notoriety as a sideperson for jazz giants both traditional and avant-garde. But dig deeper and he has a fascinatingly adventurous series of solo albums in his pantheon, of which Nuna is the sixth. The record is a sprawling, diverse, frequently magnificent suite of solo piano pieces that traverse everything from classical harmony and Latin rhythm to postbop melody and multicultural sonority. Occasionally joined by percussionist Julio Barreto, Virelles sounds like he’s having a blast putting himself through his own paces, dancing around the melodies, focusing on the rhythm, coaxing sounds from his keyboard that simulate other countries’ instruments, and generally just reveling in his own musicality. By turns playful and brooding, raucous and gentle, and everything in between, the songs on Nuna encompass a State of the Piano recital, with Virelles easily able to handle anything he tosses in his own way.
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