Brooklyn based Argentinian pianist and composer Emilio Teubal releases "Tides," an album that showcases his poly-stylistic solo piano compositions. Teubal's work juggles contemporary tango, jazz, and contemporary classical influences, and this album gives listeners a chance to hear his unique voice in focused, solo setting.
“Tides” is a compilation of improvised and composed pieces for solo piano. The genesis of this music happened during a very compressed period of time in early 2019; all the pieces carry an underlying connection and an overall sense of unity. According to Teubal, 2019 became the year “…in which I personally became worried, aware and extremely conscious about what kind of planet I will leave for my son and his generation”. The title "Tides" refers to the impact of global warming on ocean levels and the subsequent damage it will cause. “Tides" also references the political oscillations surrounding government policies that threaten the chances of properly addressing climate change. Although Teubal did not initially intend this album as a climate change activist statement, these crucial environmental issues were present on an unconscious level. Consequently the music sounds and breathes these themes.
Teubal’s thoughts on the repertoire:
An improvised introduction or prelude to the following title track on the record. This short improvisation gained a life for itself so I decided to transform it into a separate tune. It developed further into an introduction or prelude to the whole album.
The initial arpeggios of the piece create an oscillating and fluctuating texture that in some ways emulates movement of the seas. Once a clear melody emerges from underneath that texture, the piece turns into a minor tonality dark Waltz. The harmonic language of the piece draws both from modern Tango (specifically Astor Piazzolla’s music) as well as from guitarist Bill Frisell’s compositions which I really admire for their minimalistic construction.Read More
A fast 7/8 piece that was conceived and developed from an old pianistic trick, a repeated note, two hand motive. From there, the song evolved into a slow open improvisation that gradually gains speed. I wrote this piece for my partner Juliana Garber who really likes the Spanish word “Tortuga”.
I wrote this piece in honor of my elderly father. The piece explores the concept of aging and its implications. This tune also relates to the overall theme of the album, taking into consideration the remaining time for action. What if it becomes too late to undo the damage we are causing to the planet?
Once I finished this piece, I asked my then seven-year-old son about a suggestion for a title. He quietly listened to the piece once and without hesitation said, “Rio”. The title instantly fit perfectly because of several related themes and influences. Rio, Brazil is home to many influential popular composers of our time. The album "Rio" by Keith Jarrett and his solo piano work in general were also big musical influences on me.
An improvisation that emulated sounds from underneath the earth and more specifically sounds generated from a profoundly upset planet. Ancient civilizations, unlike ours, respected the earth mainly out of fear of potential consequences. Hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes were seen as a reaction by an angry planet.
A long initial impressionistic meditation that slowly builds and erupts into a Tango-like section of falling arpeggios. The ending of the piece quotes “Sin Pestanias” (Without Eyelashes) a piece featured on my first record “La Balteuband” and later adapted and arranged for a NY based Tango Sextet.
Another two hand pianistic trick that evolves into a very playful C major piece composed for my son and nieces. The english word “playing” refers both to the act of playing music as well as what kids do all day. As a native Spanish speaker, I am fascinated by the duality of that word and the implication that mastering an instrument and performing music shouldn’t be different from playing with toys like kids do.
Blocks of high register chords end the record in a similar way to how it started. The album works both as a symmetrical mirror but also as an ascending and descending tide. Once the tide has passed, it leaves things drastically changed but in the same position as they were before.
All music composed and arranged by Emilio Teubal (BMI)
Recorded by David Stoller at Hotel Samurai Recording Studios
Mixed and Mastered by Brian Forbes at Soda Aroma Studios
Produced by Emilio Teubal
Emilio Teubal is a pianist/composer/arranger from Argentina based in New York. He has recorded over twenty albums, both as a sideman and as a composer/bandleader including the 2018 Latin Grammy Winner album “Vigor Tanguero” by the Pedro Giraudo Group. His latest solo record, “Tides”, is a compilation of improvised and composed pieces for solo piano that will be released by New Focus Recordings and distributed by Naxos in the summer of 2020.
A prolific composer and arranger, Emilio identifies his artistry and creative search to the music of Latin America and the permanent elasticity of stylistic limits. Prior to the Solo Piano record “Tides”, he has has released four albums: “Memorias de Otro Tiempo” (2018) written for the Emilio Teubal Trio (featuring Federico Diaz on guitar and Ivan Barenboim on clarinet) which has been included on the shortlist “Best Jazz of the Month on Bandcamp” in February 2018. In the fall of that same year, the Trio did an extensive album release tour in Japan. Prior to this album, he released “Música Para Un Dragón Dormido” (Music for a Sleeping Dragon) (2013) under the independent label Brooklyn Jazz Underground, which has been chosen as best album of 2013 by several specialized media. The album received worldwide press recognition with rave reviews: “…As near to perfection as you can get” (Dave Sumner, Bird is The Worn). The album features some of Teubal’s longtime collaborators, Moto Fukushima, Sam Sadigursky and John Hadfield, plus special guests Erik Friedlander and Satoshi Takeishi. His first two albums are "La Balteuband" (2006), and "Un Monton de Notas" (2009) which features "El Amanecido" a song that has been featured in the movie Meet The Patels.
A versatile pianist who can navigate through different styles of written and improvised music, Emilio has performed in some of the most prestigious venues and theaters in the United States such as The Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Symphony Space, The Blue Note, Birdland, Le Poisson Rouge and Joe’s Pub. He has been touring Japan on a regular basis since 2018, performing at the most prestigious theaters and music venues in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima and other cities. He has also been an essential member of the Tango, Latin and Jazz scene of New York performing and recording with the Pedro Giraudo Quartet (2018 Latin Grammy winner), Marta Gomez, Adam Tully Trio, Pablo Lanouguere Quintet, Colectivo Tangente, Sergio Reyes’s Romancero Latinoamericano, Los Chantas tango group, Sam Sadigursky, Erik Friedlander and Satoshi Takeishi to name a few.
Emilio is a recipient of the 2007 Meet The Composer prestigious Van Lier Fellowship, which provides support for talented, culturally diverse young people who are seriously dedicated to a career in the arts. He has also been commissioned to write music for various settings: in 2017 he was commissioned by Saint Peter’s Church to compose a piece titled Unity for more than 40 instrumentalists and singers to commemorate the 500 anniversary of the Lutheran reform. He has also been commissioned to write a solo piece for the virtuoso guitarist Dan Lippel, and a piece for the Adam Tully Tango trio. Recently he was asked to write a piece for the Japanese experimental contemporary group “Music KART” which will be recorded in the Fall of 2020.
“In fact it is very possible that Emilio Teubal may have emerged as one of the most outstanding musicians from Argentina, with this record that will surely mark him as one of the deepest thinkers as well as one of the most “Painterly” pianists in modern music”
— Raul Da Gama, LatinJazz Network
“When someone asks you what will be considered the classic albums of this modern jazz age in fifty years time, you should point to this recording (Musica para un Dragon Dormido) as one of them. As near to perfection as you can get”
— David Sumer, Bird is the Wormhttps://www.emilioteubal.com/
The music of Spanish-born (raised in Argentina) pianist and composer Emilio Teubal covers a wide swath of territory. One can hear classical influences, rhythms from his native lands mixed with modern sounds, and a love for lyricism that can be found in each of his recorded projects. His American debut album, 2013's "Musica Para un Dragon Dormido" (BJU Records), remains one of my favorite listening experiences (my review is here) while his 2018 recording "Memorias de Otro Tiempo" (Not Yet Records) is a splendid trio (piano, clarinet, acoustic guitar) that is lyrical and moving, forceful yet gentle, worth returning to time and again. He's also recorded with the Tango ensemble of bassist Pedro Giraudo as well as a member of bassist Pablo Lanouguere's Quintet.
Teubal's latest album, "Tides" (New Focus Recordings/ Naxos) is a perfect antidote to our current International unease and fear of disease. The nine original solo piano compositions and improvisations take a little over 33 minutes to listen to yet will reverberate through your mind and soul a long while. Yes, the lyricism and innate sense of rhythm is present but it's the emotional richness of the music that is so striking. Pieces such as the title track (listen below) and the Stephen Sondheim-like "Playing" pull the listener in; both songs conjure up visions of the ocean as well as strong winds blowing through thick, leafy, trees. There's also the playful melody and rhythms of "Tortuga" that dance out of the speakers, an artful tango with a mesmerizing rhythm. "Rio" has a similar feel––here, the rhythms and melody intertwine in a way that moves forward incessantly, powerfully. The yearning, searching, melody brings to mind the great 20th Century Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. While its not very long (1:48), "Tectonic (plates)" is dramatic, theatrical, and sonically striking.
"Tides" is beautiful music with pieces and performances that have power, dignity, a sense of playfulness, an emotional pull, and a sense of exploration. Emilio Teubal has presented to the world a personal yet universal panacea, music that will excite your senses and calm your fears or, at least, serve as a respite from the troubling times.
— Richard Kamins, 6.27.2020
Emilio Teubal, the grey story of the planet narrated by a piano.
Argentine pianist Emilio Teubal kindly shared his latest album with me. He currently lives in New York, and he knew about my taste for new aesthetic sensibilities. I'm already familiar with his work on the jazz side, with his album Musica Para un Dragon Dormido and Un Monton de Notas. With these antecedents I prepared to listen to what he calls: contemporary Latin American music in his record.
This new production is a compilation of improvisations and compositions written for solo piano . Some of the pieces are dated form the beginning of last year. Indeed. He "drinks from the well of Latin American music and from a permanent capacity to supply himself with various sonorous styles. In addition to being a versatile pianist, as a composer he enters the fields of jazz, tango, sacred music and experimental music.
This album seems to epitomize his compositional work, but also that of his key influences . The album starts with Prelude: Very brief crystalline notes, like water dripping after a rain. There is suspension, yes. Tides continues , it is like putting music on the swing of a gentle tide. It comes and goes smoothly. As if you see them coming from far while you rest. The wind blows on your hair and face. This is the way this composition with arpeggiates notes transports us naturally to its world.
A surprising piece is Tortuga: not only there is an accessible melody but there are also dissonances and improvisations. Tiempo, on the other hand, is more relaxed, almost introspective and with hints of Impressionism inspired by Debussy, with intervals and insinuating harmonies.
The piece Rio I thought about Brazil and when I listened to it the music itself confirmed it. It has a captivating melody perhaps due to the influence that, at some point, Teubal received from Egberto Gismonti. Rio changes when the improvisation starts and the intensity increases causing a certain impact. Tectonic (plates) is an abstract composition that takes us by surprise. It is as if it reminds us of this ecological chaos that we live in and in which Teubal shows concern . In fact, the entire album is a concern about climate change. "There is little time left to reverse the course taken by planet Earth," reflects the composer.
One of the latest pieces is Playing , which, due to its subtleties and displacements, refers somewhat to Mario Laginha another of his influences, although with its own style. Teubal, absorbs from various sources as I already mentioned, but without giving up his style. Here he makes accents and more steady rhythm, that he later contrast with a slower tempo and with few notes, I would venture to say that he expresses inner tension.
The closure could not be different with Eyeslashes. It is an improvisation, it is a going and moving forward with reflection, with surprises, with achievements, but also with conflicts without forgetting hopes. I perceive here that kind of impressionism and emotion that is usually heard in the ECM team and with balance.
Teubal has recorded close to twenty albums, among himself and as a guest, as happened with that album Vigor tanguero, by Pedro Giraudo's group that won the Latin Grammy two years ago. But this time in Tides, Emilio Teubal, for the first time, stops to write for his instrument, and decides to record it after knowing that in these times organizing, rehearsing, managing concerts and finding venues turns out to be a random matter. "And it is good that it is so, because I can already play my music for only fifty minutes, without depending on anyone," he says.
Tides is not a romantic solo piano record, no. Here what there is is reflection, deepening, also concern and some discomfort for the irrepressible damage that is done to the planet. Just as it hints at beautiful soundscapes, it also expresses tragedy and pain. They are sound landscapes, which demand to be seen with sensitive ears.
— Jorge Sierra, 7.22.2020
Teubal's Tides eschews covers for the pianist's own multi-stylistic settings, some composed and some improvised. Created during a concentrated period in 2019, the thirty-three-minute recording embodies anxious awareness on the creator's part of the world his son's generation's inheriting; the album title, for instance, alludes to global warming by way of its impact on ocean levels. Tides isn't, however, an environmentally driven polemic; it's more accurately an instrumental collection whose writing grew out of conscious concern for a planet with a precarious future. Teubal, whose playing deftly integrates elements of jazz, classical, and tango, brings ample experience to the solo piano genre, with more than twenty albums as a leader (four before Tides) and participant to his name.
An improvised “Preludio” finds his gifts alluringly displayed, its prettiness belying the foreboding associated with the environmental concept. The title track follows, its patterns convincingly intimating the lulling motion of the seas and the waltz feel reflecting Teubal's love of modern tango. Delivered at a rapid 7/8 clip, “Tortuga” ups the animated ante considerably without sacrificing any of the elegance or artistry thus far displayed. A sense of urgency is palpable as he pushes the material aggressively until an arrestation occurs, itself followed by a gradual reinstatement of that initiating urgency; spirited too is “Rio,” where a Brazilian influence can be detected in its joyous swing. The environmental concept emerges again in “Tectonic (plates),” not only in the title of the improvisation but in the suggestion of elements violently welling up from the earth. Teubal's classical side move to the fore in “Eyelashes” in dramatic, Debussy-like textures that eventually morph into cascading arpeggios. Whereas “Tiempo,” composed in honour of his father, is infused with nostalgia and affection, “Playing,” written with his son and nieces in mind, is light-hearted, its buoyant swing emblematic of the freedom from care children enjoy during that precious time in their lives.
“Postludio” neatly frames the release with spacious block chords evoking the reflective mood of the intro, the gesture intended to reinforce the recording's symmetrical design with the two acting as ascending and descending tides. He's clearly a virtuoso, but, wisely, technical ability is used in service to artistry throughout the release. As impressive as the performance of challenging material such as “Tortuga” and “Rio” clearly is, it's the expressive articulation captured in the gentler settings that speaks most powerfully on his behalf.
— Ron Schepper, 7.27.2020