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Album review: 'This Land Abounds with Life'


Fabian Almazan Trio

'This Land Abounds with Life'

Biophilia Records

Cuban native Fabian Almazan crossed the Mexican border with his family at the age of nine in 1993. Over the past two decades, he has become one of the top pianists in jazz. His new two-CD set, "This Land Abounds with Life," is a bittersweet musical exploration of his feelings about his homeland, which he revisited in 2016. Although the album is dominated by piano, Almazan adds field recordings of Cuban people and nature to some of the tracks.

Song titles like "Folklorism," "The Poets," and "Songs of the Forgotten" provide a sense of the scope of Almazan's evocative musical journey. That scope even extends to his life in the United States with tunes like "The Everglades," a soundscape conjuring the Florida wetlands he lived near while growing up. Aside from two solo piano tracks, the album showcases his excellent trio, with Linda May Han Oh on bass and Henry Cole on drums. A lush string quartet adds extra energy to the first tune.