Diego Rivera, Love and Peace Review
By Nolan DeBuke
Diego Rivera is releasing his fourth Posi-Tone Records release called Love and Peace. The album features Rivera’s original compositions and a few spirited arrangements. For the album, Rivera is joined by pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Rudy Royston.
“Lovely” is a Rivera original that begins the album with an up-tempo swinger with a classic form and changes. The composition has both ensemble hits and rhythmic motifs. Rivera’s solo is straight ahead as the ensemble settles into a beautiful swing feel that he shapes his solo in smooth shapes as he builds in the saxophone’s register. Kozlov and Royston swing with passion as Hirahara takes a classic solo too. Together the ensemble set the tone for the enjoyable music to come.
The well-known “Gracias A La Vida” was penned by Chilean composer Violeta del Carmen Parra. Here we are treated to Rivera’s warm and touching expression in a stunning Latin Jazz coloration. The rhythm section pushes and pulls to Rivera’s climax to his solo before Hirahara takes the lead. Rivera and Hirahara are melodic players that also know when to turn up the heat for a stirring performance.
Love and Peace show many sides to Rivera’s playing and composing. He continues to build an impressive discography of music as a jazz saxophone bandleader with varied styles while still staying strong in the jazz tradition.