First off, I am NOT a jazz guy. I am sure many progheads are. I prefer classical as a genre. I do enjoy jazz infused prog but not straight up jazz as a whole. So when it came time to check out jazz rock trio Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado, I was a bit apprehensive.
How rock would they be? How jazz would they be? They are very much a good bit of both, but not always at the same time. Their debut album “Tessellations” has songs like the opener “Malachite Dream” which is very much a jazz meets progrock affair. Plenty of ripping guitar work from Ray Suhy and supple bass work from Rolando Alvarado.
After hearing that track, I assumed the whole album would just rock out. I’m not sure what makes me so damn naive sometimes! “Aphelion” is a slightly quieter piece which does not rock as hard but still feels perfect to follow up the first track. This is my favorite track. Suhy’s playing reminds me a lot of Jeff Beck (one of my all time favorites) and drummer Alex Silvergold seems to channel Terry Bozzio with plenty of crashes and toms to drive things along. By the way, Alex Silvergold is only 16!!
The album has a few very short interlude like pieces that are all decent enough but don’t really add much to things. They are all nice but I’d love to have heard each fleshed out more. “Svitani” feels like a warm up for the acoustic flamico-fest that is “Awakening.” “Temporal Landrons” shows that Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado can shred which is a cool change of pace.
“Special Cadence” is where I got a little lost. Upright bass, brushes and a subtle lead are all tasteful but just not my cup of tea at all. It also feels completely out of place. Both “Ethremet” and “Occaso” sound like the guys are just noodling around for 40 seconds, so I am not sure why we need these short tracks. “Perihelion” rights the ship and picks up where “Temporal Landrons” but with a much heavy jazz flair to it. “Perihelion” is probably the best track when it comes to marrying their jazz chops with their ability to shred as needed. Unfortunately, I wish the song lasted longer.
“Wise One” is the big nine plus minute closer. The song takes a bit too long to get its legs under it. I don’t mind setting a mood but 3 plus minutes is a tad too long for me. They mix an upright bass with a more metal sounding lead which isn’t bad but I probably would have preferred either all acoustic or all electric. The pairing doesn’t quite work for me but the playing itself is incredible. And that’s the key here, all three guys are amazing musicians who really sound great together!
“Tessellations” is a interesting mix of jazz and rock where Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado allow each genre to clearly retain its idenitity, often pitting one against the other within the same song. It’s never too jazz, never too rock but rather it’s a battle that is allowed to end in a draw.
1. Malachite Dream
5. Temporal Landrons
6. Special Cadence
10. Wise One