Willy Rodriguez – Seeing Sounds (ENG review)

Street Date March 29th 2024
Willy Rodriguez – Seeing Sounds

There are albums that have a greater impact than others, and for various reasons. Seeing Sounds, and the work of composer and drummer Willy Rodriguez, it is always interesting to see what an instrumentalist can bring to composition. In that regard, we are dealing with a “great vintage.” It will not surprise you to know that one of the world’s best saxophonists and composers, Dave Liebman, is featured here. Additionally, Tehn Vega and Ralph Peterson Jr., as well as Bob Gulloti, are present. This is not a form of jazz that is immediately evident to untrained ears. If you are accustomed to navigating between jazz, classical music, and improvised music, it is probably the best way to appreciate this elitist album in the best sense of the term. It requires a little mental exercise to enter, but once you do, enjoy!
With its richness in poetic forms and sonic fractures, like a thread of Ariadne, Willy Rodriguez develops his musical writing. The drums here act almost like a breath, providing a stage, a backdrop, a narrative starting point for the other instruments. It’s hard to believe that this is a “Music of Chance,” as Paul Auster could claim. It is a profound work on which these artists improvise—or perhaps not. What they are capable of producing is nothing short of a sound fireworks display. Don’t lose track, and you will experience moments of enchantment, from one track to another.
Of Puerto Rican origin, Willy, holder of a Grammy for his work on Mon Laferte’s ‘Norma,’ studied at the famous Berkley School. His reputation grew thanks to his association with Wally’s Jazz Cafe, the famous jazz club located in the historic South End neighborhood of Boston, where he led the renowned weekend jam sessions. Eventually, Willy began performing every Thursday at Wally’s with his salsa group, ‘The 427 Flavah Factory.’
From a standpoint, he is one of those drummers who has a unique and distinctive imprint, making him easily recognizable. He goes much further than most drummers, approaching the work of an elegant percussionist who offers incredibly interesting and even exciting sounds and spaces for the musicians he accompanies. And that is precisely why the editors of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris Move have decided to place this album in the “essential” pile.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, January 29th 2024


To buy this album

1. Beyond The Struggle 04:07
2. Roy’s Master Plan
3. When There’s A Will, There’s A Way
4. Guani (feat. Dave Liebman)
5. Fixed Goal
6. Waltz Dilemma 06:15
7. The Infinity Of Your Love (feat. Dave Liebman)
8. The Red-tailed Hawk is going to Eat Your Babies (feat. Tehn Vega)
9. Un Pequeño Desahogo
10. Self Love
11. Praise (for Ralph Peterson & Bob Gulloti)

Willy Rodriguez – drums
Hery Paz – saxophone
Jason Palmer – trumpet
Leo Genovese – piano
John Hébert – bass
Kenneth Jimenez – bass
Dave Liebman – soprano saxophone
Tehn Vega – sound design