Three horns and a rhythm trio can make for some of the most engaging jazz, especially when there’s cohesiveness and original music. That’s what you’re in store for with the Dafnis Prieto Sextet’s Triangles and Circles (Dafnison Music, 2015).
Drummer Dafnis Prieto is supported by Johannes Weidenmueller on acoustic and electric bass; Peter Apfelbaum on tenor and soprano saxophones and melodica; Felipe Lamoglia on alto saxophone; Mike Rodriguez on trumpet; and ever-present pianist Manuel Valera.
The title song begins with Prieto offering some tom rolls and working other elements of the kit. After he’s sufficiently warmed up, piano and bass signal the start of something. The horns may be the triangle of this piece. They blend during parts of the main theme, but then they split, each representing one side, playing nearly identical phrases in turns. The effect is like a rolling wave. Then Lamoglia goes on a jaunt with the alto, followed by Apfelbaum’s tenor. The horns then join as a unit, complementing Valera’s almost solo. Almost because while he’s doing his thing on piano, Prieto shows off a little on the side. It’s an interesting arrangement wherein the background players appear to be on equal footing as whoever has the lead.