From Now On (BJU Records; 2011)
Dan Blake (sax)
Moto Fukushima (bass)
Richie Barshay (drums)
Franco Pinna (bombo leguero)
Gil Goldstein (piano, accordion)
Oscar Penas is an artist whose cultural heritage shines through in his work. And his latest, From Now On is no different. Penas fuses contemporary motifs around Spanish rhythms with delightful and romantic effect.
"Continuum" opens with a dreamy set of chords from Penas quickly joined by some absorbing tones employed by Blake. This is a lengthy piece that allows the musicians to stretch and expand. Penas creates a nice passage of time for the listener. This is a tune that moves up and down thanks to a number of different transition points but always remains rich, elegant, well composed. Gil Goldstein adds a delicious touch to "From Now On."
Penas has a delicate lyricism to his writing that makes this piece very personal and captures you on the first spin. Goldstein's playing is extremely engaging. "Julia" is one of my favourite tracks on the album. A midtempo ballad that celebrates passion, life and love. The piece is dedicated to Penas cousin but you really will get your own personal affection out of "Julia" without ever knowing the source of the selection. Barshay's soft brushes blend with Goldstein's accordion creating a truly divine and soulful overture that leaves you in awe.
From Now On is one of those romantic albums that grasps hold of you quickly. Warm, opening and refreshing--Oscar Penas hopefully won't be an unkept secret from many. From Now On is an album that should be universally praised and rewarded. A definite must listen...