There are individuals in everybody’s life who stimulate the mind and imagination.
If one is lucky enough, these special inspirations needn’t be historical
figures. They can be friends and collaborators who can be met any day. Pianist/
composer Angelica Sanchez holds many such stimulating figures close by and on
her new recording, Sparkle Beings, she showcases potent examples of inspiration
being channeled through remarkable people, past or contemporary.
Sanchez has been a stellar piano stylist and musical conceptualist in the
New York scene for some time. She felt destined to get to New York even
as a talented teenager from Arizona, telling the instructors and fellow students
at the Ed Schuller led Sandpoint Music Camp in Idaho that she intended
to move to the City. She did so the next year.
It was at Sandpoint that Sanchez met the great drummer, Billy Hart. Though
Hart was one of the first masters that she interacted with, it has taken
until now for Sanchez to invite Hart to record with her. Sanchez also invited
her longtime friend and collaborator, bassist Michael Formanek, to take
part. The trust that Sanchez places in Hart and Formanek ensures that the
music they create will be stimulating. Sanchez also turns to a handful of
composers to provide vehicles for the group’s expression. For the pianist, the
lives and work of composers Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Mario Ruiz
Armengol, and Cecil Taylor are all connected. The perpetually under-appreciated
Williams inspired and tutored Ellington and Taylor. Mexican composer
Armengol tutored Ellington, who gave him the nickname “Mr. Harmony.”