With his latest release, Forced Displacement, Columbian-born percussionist-composer Samuel Torres has set out to create a song suite meant to address the violence and suffering currently transpiring in his native land between guerrillas, paramilitary groups and the national army. Using styles and thematic elements native to Columbia, Torres evokes the sound and feel of his home country that, while at times melancholic, is just as likely to be up-tempo and encouraging listeners to feel the rhythms coursing through their bodies.
Over the course of ten interlinked compositions, Torres and his eight-piece band explore traditional Columbian styles within a contemporary jazz framework. After the elegiac “Overture”, “Las Canta’oras (The Female Singers)” opens the album to a series of celebratory moments that continue through the percussion showcase, “Velada De Tambores (Drum Soiree)”. Throughout the album, Torres’s nimble conga playing anchors each composition, never dominating and always allowing the members of his group to shine. Intricate, rhythmically complex and melodically compelling, Forced Displacement is an enjoyable listen from a passionate group of talented musicians.
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