Artist: Madre Vaca
Album: The Elements
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
1. Fire (Benjamin Shorstein) 14:53
2. Water (Jarrett Carter) 09:03
3. Earth (Thomas Milovac) 09:13
4. Wind (Jonah Pierre) 07:31
Jarrett Carter – Guitar
Thomas Milovac – Bass
Jonah Pierre – Piano
Benjamin Shorstein – Drums
It’s January 29, 2020. JeanCarlo Mendez has just arrived in town to set up for the session. The musicians are hurrying to finish their pieces. Not enough time to rehearse. JeanCarlo yells at us to start – “we’re rolling!” And away we go…
Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind – The Elements. Jazz collective Madre Vaca, for their fourth album, has transfigured the ancient and classic concept of the elements into a musical representation. Each player composed a long-form piece representing one of the elements. The result is four movements, each with varying structure and multiple solo sections. Each piece an open space for expression and improvisation, and each with character, mood, and temperament befitting the elements. Each piece stands on its own, but together they are a jazz symphony.
Fire (Benjamin Shorstein) – The first movement represents the Fire element, with all its strength and destructive power. Fire burns, but it also provides light. It has the force to destroy homes and forests, but it can also cook your dinner, lead the way to safety, and light a candle to illuminate the pages of your book at midnight… and, as quickly as it began, arpeggios alarm us to the imminent end – an explosion. We peek through the smoldering ashes and smoke to see water trickling out of the ground.
Water (Jarrett Carter) – The second movement begins with a rippling of a lake. Raindrops disturb the lake’s surface with perfect concentric circles. The rain pours more steadily, until a small stream spills out from the lake. The stream suddenly breaks out into a surging river. The torrential water ebbs and flows until we ultimately reach the waterfall and fall off, toward the earth.
Earth (Thomas Milovac) – The third movement is symphonic, robust, and other-worldly. We are introduced to the kaleidoscopic and microscopic beauty that is the earth element. This piece is the most designed and the most open for interpretation – how can this be? It is a paradox. The earth is hard and unchanging for millennia, yet in an instant there is an earthquake, a volcano, a tsunami, a hurricane which disrupts with reckless abandon. The apparent dichotomy of simultaneous structure and freedom is however, a false one. Dust is scattered by a gust of wind.
Wind (Jonah Pierre) – Let the wind wash over you. Let it whip your hair, and cleanse your body. Let your mind be relieved of all thoughts and your shoulders of all burden. Allow the wind to carry you in any direction. Hesitation is your only limitation. The fourth movement has a character of open joy. Then the wind begins its tale, which is a wonderful story of travel and adventure and unapologetic delight. Was this all just a dream?