I previously interviewed guitarist-composer Javier Rosario back in 2021. Now he is back with a new release, his second album: Javier Rosario Trio V.2 Yes!
This 7-track album showcases his both his playing and compositional work. The record begins with The Road Ahead which sets the scene via his overdriven agressive fusion electric guitar tone. It starts understated before going full-on legato crazy as the improvised guitar solo comes in. This is in the realm of the whole Tim Miller meets Allan Holdsworth meets Nir Felder (with a hint of maybe Ben Monder). That is at least how I would describe it.
It’s interesting to hear the atmosphere set by Javier’s fusion and rock-tinged guitar playing contrasted by the crispy drumming and lyrical bass playing.
It Is continues the mood set in the first track with even more legato craziness in the solo section. In Carry On, there are hints of drum and bass vibes along with the first acoustic bass solo thus far. Scott Kiefner plays a good solo before Javier launches again into a whole “sheets of sound” thing punctuated with some nice chordal stabs.
Moving on with the track In Between the Seas, the mood lightens a bit with the first ballad of the record. That being said, the harmony never lets you forget the kind of album you’re listening to. I particularly love the suspension and resolutions in the melody. I like this track probably the most so far… but I am just a ballad guy so I have my biases. Again though, as the track moves on you hear again Javier’s “sheets of sound” with the other musicians supporting his melodic explorations. The melody comes back and then I am back in my kind of world (for at least awhile) before some dissonant chord break that up… just before the final melody restatement comes in. At 6 minutes and 58 seconds, this track is the longest in this record.
Shades of Grey lifts up the tempo again bringing some John Scofield type vibes circa Uberjam but again meets Javier’s legato-laced long lines. This solo is an interesting mix of motivic phrases, snake-like lines and tasteful chordal stabs. Zak King gets a feature on the second half of the track with a powerful solo before the melody comes back. This is probably the track I would most likely look forward to hearing at a Javier Rosario Trio performance.
It Changes almost makes you believe you’re getting something more conventional with the melody but it is rhythm changes or something else? Javier’s solo is relentless starting intense and ending more lyrically. Zak takes another drum solo here.
Closing the album is Rainbows which sound like Javier’s exploration on the classic Giant Steps changes with an agressive melody/head in the intro/outro. We first get Scott taking a bass solo with Javier playing the chords before Javier solos with a rainbow (pun-intended) of lines.
All in all, I would recommend this album to fans of guitarists like Tim Miller, Allan Holdsworth, Nir Felder and Ben Monder. There is a lot of energy and intensity in this release and this just be up your alley. The only thing that I would have to say is I wish the album was longer… but then again with the amount of notes played, you probably don’t need anything longer than this.
Javier Rosario Trio V.2 Yes!
Javier Rosario (guitar, compositions and production)
Zak King (drums and co-production)
Scott Kiefner (bass and co-production)
Recorded at The Record Company in Boston. Studio A. April 15-16, 2023
- The Road Ahead
- It Is
- Carry On
- In Between the Seas
- Shades of Grey
- It Changes
Get your copy of this album from Javier and find streaming links here: https://www.javierrosarioguitar.com/recordings
Links for purchasing the album:
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About Javier Rosario
Guitar virtuoso, composer, bandleader, educator and recording artist, Javier Rosario is the first ever Michel Camilo Scholarship winner. The scholarship was an initiative of the Dominican born, Grammy, Latin Grammy and Emmy Award winning pianist. It has been the first scholarship of its kind in the history of the Dominican Republic, where Javier was born in Santo Domingo. In 2006, Javier attended Berklee College of Music with full scholarship, graduating with the highest ratings ever given to a guitarist. In 2009, he performed at the Berklee Jazz and Blues Guitar Night: a concert which only featured the very top players of the entire school. In 2010, Javier decided to further his studies at the Longy School of Music of Bard College with a master’s degree. There he was awarded a Presidential Scholarship and was acknowledged by his guitar teachers as possibly the highest-level guitarist ever to enter the jazz program.
Among some of the musicians Javier has performed with are: Joe Lovano and his Berklee College of Music 21st Century Ensemble, John Lockwood, Matt Savage, Zachary King, Scott Kiefner, Aaron Holthus, Avery Logan, Bob Edinger, Vardan Ovsepian, Jeff Galindo, Phil Grenadier, Bret Willmott, Hoo Kim, James Heazlewood Dale, Evan Waaramaa, just to name a few. Javier has performed at Blue Note in New York City, Concerts in the Courtyard Series at Boston Public Library, 150th Anniversary of Boston Public Library South Boston Branch, Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival, Fiesta Sunset Jazz Club the #1 jazz club in the Dominican Republic and one of the top jazz clubs in the world according to All About Jazz, A-Town Jazz Festival, Strand Theater, Massachusetts’ State House, Cornelia Street Cafe, St. Botolph Club, Berklee Performance Center, Pianos NYC, Shrine World Music Venue, Silvana, Port City Blue, Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar, Radio Bean Jazz Fest, Thunder Road, Tonic, Community Music Center of Boston’s Fête de la Musique and John Kleshinski Concert Series as well as David Lapin Arts on the Rise fundraiser, Altos de Chavon Amphitheater in the Dominican Republic, just to name a few. Javier is an active performer for Sofar Sounds with his trio as well as performing duo with drummer Zak King.
Javier is a guitar Adjunct Professor at Bunker Hill Community College where he has served as a music audition panel judge. He is a faculty member at Community Music Center of Boston, Passim School of Music, Amigos School and Morse School in Massachusetts. During the Spring 2021, Javier was a Community Engagement Programs Teaching Artist at Community Music Center of Boston and Boston Collegiate Charter School. In late June 2021, Javier received the Community Music Center of Boston Marilla MacDill Award for Teaching Excellence and Community Service. Javier has been a Visiting Professor at the National Conservatory of Music since 2009 and a Visiting Artist and Music Thesis Judge for the international music program at UNPHU or Universidad Pedro Henriquez Ureña since 2021 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In May 2022, Javier became a performer and music educator for the City of Boston through the Boston Public Library. During the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, Javier is a Community Engagement Programs Teaching Artist at Community Music Center of Boston and the Hurley School at Boston’s South End.