Esperanzaby Young & Rollins
There's usually an implied criticism in stating that an artist's latest work is simply "more of the same," but nothing untoward is meant in this case. Esperanza continues the same creative path as Dan Young and Lawson Rollins' earlier albums, but it does so flawlessly, refining the duo's sound to its essence. Backed by a percussionist (Alfredo Mojica, who also adds an expressive lead vocal to "Twanee") and an electric bass player, Young & Rollins' neo-flamenco takes in some jazz, Afro-Cuban, and classical elements, but the focus always remains on the driving forward motion of the duo's intertwined acoustic guitars. Proof that music can be technically flawless without lacking wit or soul, Esperanza is Young & Rollins' best album to this point.
- Release Date:
- Bolero Records
Performance CreditsYoung & Rollins Primary Artist
Alfredo Mojica Percussion,Vocals
Dan Young Classical Guitar,Flamenco Guitar
Lawson Rollins Classical Guitar,Flamenco Guitar
Technical CreditsDan Young Arranger,Composer,Producer
Paula Edelstein Liner Notes
Lawson Rollins Arranger,Composer,Producer
Doug Johnston Engineer
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Young & Rollins are back with another stunning collection of original music. This is to me their best album so far. The music is so alive with energy and the melodies are among the group's most distinctive of their career. The album starts out with an upbeat salsa, "Firedancer", that features a scorching guitar solo and a get-up-and-dance melody. The next tune, "Spanish Nights", has probably my favorite mid-tempo, seductive melody on the album. Compositionally, "Spanish Nights" showcases what Young & Rollins do so well. Next, "Twanee" introduces a vocal element that meshes well with the mostly instrumental album. Another great guitar solo on "Twanee!" The title track, "Esperanza", is another showcase for the duo's ability to write gorgeous melodies and meld in tasteful, virtuoso guitar work. One of their best tunes! "Sandstorm" is an up-tempo, flamenco-inflected tour de force with some surprising twists and turns. "Ritual" is a true musical journey with some tasty bass work and guitar solos, as well as a haunting melody. This is Young & Rollins at their most soulful and sophisticated. "Play On" is the kind of upbeat, feel-good tune that Young & Rollins is known for, still with some surprising jazz inflections and masterful improvisations combined with the relentlessly catchy melody. "Nowhere to be Found" is a beautiful ballad that combines one of the most memorable melodies I have come across with a complex chord progression that takes the compositional skills of Young & Rollins to the next level. Next up is the roller coaster ride of a tune called "Mirage", that features some over-the-top guitar soloing, an infectious rumba vocal section, a salsa breakdown, and percussion solos. "Mirage" really is a showpiece for the band's overall virtuosity. Finally, the album closes with the mystical "Cottonwood Canyon" and a solo guitar "Reprise" of the melody from the track "Esperanza". The solo guitar really brings the listener back down to Earth and let's us hear the fundamental ingredient for all the musical magic contained in the album, which is the masterful guitar work of Young & Rollins.