Review: Isaac Lausell - Homegrown Devices
Guitarist Isaac Lausell new album Homegrown Devices is a testament to his eclectic experiences and musical influences.
Lausell is a classically trained instrumentalist with Bachelor (Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico), Master (University of North Texas) and Doctorate (University of New York at Stony Brook) degrees that includes Classical Guitar.
Lausell classical side can be appreciated on two of his original compositions, 'Tekki' and 'Memento'. 'Tekki' shows yet another aspect of Lausell that also requires a lot of discipline; Karate. Lausell is a Karate practitioner and the word Tekki means a series of 'Katas' used in the Shotokan style of Karate. The ellegance of the piece surely reflects the practice of this martial art. On the nostalgic theme of 'Memento', Laussell demonstrate his great technique on the classical guitar with a wonderful use of arpegios, accompanying the melodies.
On 'Flow my Tears' and 'El Testament D'Amelia', (a popular song from Catalunia), Laussel surprises us with his excellent singing, accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar. On 'El Testament D'Amelia' Lausell adds percusive and rasgado techniques usually used by flamenco guitarist.
Two amazing musicians and educators accompanied Lausell throughout most of this recording; bassist Gabriel Rodríguez from Puerto Rico and drummer Fidel Morales from Cuba but currently living in Puerto Rico. Both of them are Professors at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico.
Jazz is also an important part of Lausell music, as shown by the opening track, Gillespie standard 'A Night in Tunisia' and three of his original compositions, 'Count Wut', 'Tou Ro Roa' and 'Blue Ride'.
The arrangement on 'A Night in Tunisia' constantly changes from swing to a modern jazz feel, with drummer Fidel Morales providing the latin touch. The piece ends with a great guitar, bass and drums improvisational exchange.
The fast swinging tempo on 'Count Wut' and 'Tou Ro Roa', gives Lausell the opportunity to showcase his fluidity as an improviser on the electric guitar. On 'Tou Ro Roa' Lausell use guitar effects to simulate the sounds of an organ.
Homegrown Devices close with the energetic funk of 'Blue Ride', a composition reminiscent of the great Jazz Fusion bands of the 70's. Lausell and Rodríguez exchange flawless and powerful guitar and bass improvisations on this last track of a truly enjoyable and diverse album.