by Anne Carlini
| Title – Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life)
Artist – Rafael Greco
For those of you not in the know, beyond his musical endeavors, Rafael Greco is also a published author and an exceptionally gifted photographer. His children’s books include: “Begoña la araña” (“Begoña the spider) y “La nueva naríz” (“The new Nose”) published by Camelia Editions.
Furthermore, his photos have been used for the album covers for these artists: “El Vecino” (Juanma Trujillo) and “Viaje a la luna” (Mariana Serrano).
His photos were also a featured part of the “Chroma” Project by Antonio Mazzei in conjunction with other globally recognized photographers such as: Caterina di Perri, Diego Sierralta, Fran Beaufrand, Fryd Frydendhal, Jonas Bendiksen, Oscar Bambú Castillo, Ricardo Jiménez and Sara Maneiro. All curated by: Vasco Szinetar.
Now, in 2022, Rafael Greco is ready to present his debut album as a solo artist and leader titled: Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life) on Blue Canoe Records.
Within this work, he offers a most intimate vision that translates his world in a very personal way through his lyrics and sonic tapestries. The April 27th release hopes to reach the ears and hearts of everyone who hears this extraordinary musical statement.
1. Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez)
3. Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai)
4. African Boy
5. Igno Two
6. 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez)
9. Time (Tiempo)
10. An Illusion (Una ilusión)
12. Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo)
13. Ghost Owner
On this tantalizingly eclectic album, one where Greco offers the following: The album begins with a study of reiteration for generally, in folk music, rhythmic cells are repeated to form a continuous fabric that groove and inspire dancing, first up is the wholly atmospheric fable Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez) and the rhythmic Ondé and they are followed by the more pronounced, rounded melodies within the ghost story Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai), and then comes the imagined landscape within African Boy and the short, but sweet tale of Igno Two (imagine a clumsy robot at a circus!)
Up next come the sounds of chimbangueles (a gathering of tambores, the sounds of Zulia, Greco’s home state in Venezuela) within 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez) and the short hymn (and laughter)-imbibed 11-2, and they are in turn followed by the meditative repetition through prayer of Mantra, the organic layering of Time (Tiempo), the slow guaguancó, or a fast yambú for Our Lady of Chiquinquirá An Illusion (Una ilusión), the recording rounding out on the near ten minute Belén, the passionate Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo), closing on the free improvisation (dedicated to those who might take a ghost for a ride in a helium balloon) of Ghost Owner.
Upon discovering the rhythms of Central Africa and composer Steve Reich caused me to listen to reiteration, the art of repetition from another angle, Greco explains.
It was almost like looking at a butterfly’s wings through a microscope. Each song contains reiterative cues, layers of sounds, carefully designed textures that were vital to creating a work that could give the impression of being a simple yet coherent architectural illusion.
The album is a tribute to my family, to the music of my homeland, to my memories, to the places and people that marked the way I perceive my surroundings. It is a sincere attempt to express my musical and artistic nature.
I must also mention some of the great masters who influenced this work: Naná Vasconcelos, Charles Ives, Toru Takemitsu, Don Grolnick, Johnny Pacheco, Ángel Canales, Keith Jarrett, Django Bates, Federico Mompou, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Lyle Mays, Michael Brecker, Adalberto Santiago, Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Steve Reich, James Taylor, Juan de Dios Martínez, Olivier Messiaen, Joe Zawinul, Peter Gabriel and Oliver Knussen.