With as much attitude as the instrumentation comprising its greatest harmony, Guillermo Marigliano’s fretting stomps into focus like nothing else does in all three of the songs featured in the new record Inner Path. While there’s a lot to what makes this EP such a fascinating and immersive listen, it starts with the foundation of the material; Inner Path neither covers its roots as a way of streamlining the music, but seeks to build from the ground up.
These beats advance the mood of the music as much as any of the verses do, especially in tracks like “LA Samba (Los Angeles Samba),” which feels like the natural standout in the tracklist. Some players get nervous about leaning on the backing band’s rhythm, but it’s obvious there’s a lot of trust between this leading man and the musicians who are helping him out here. Where one end of the harmony is slipping into darkness, another is being hoisted up into the main part of the spotlight in Inner Path, which is not something I have been able to say about the majority of jazz content I’ve heard lately.
The way this record was mixed preserves the full-bodied nature of the music excellently, with tracks like “Bonita” sounding particularly physical and intimate. “Bonita” doesn’t have to grind us down with a big fat bottom end – there’s enough weight assigned to the entirety of the mix here to make up for any simplistic arranging of the instruments. Guillermo Marigliano cares about the detail in his work, and if you thought otherwise ahead of hearing the three compositions that comprise this all-new EP, you’re in for quite a surprise here. He doesn’t hide from the audience in this record but instead puts himself right at the heart of a challenge most of his competitors wouldn’t be able to handle.
We can get a good idea of who Guillermo Marigliano is via the compositional technique that he employs around every turn in Inner Path, and “Tango Blues” feels like the greatest slice of identity in this regard. Rather than focusing on one aesthetical corner of his style in this piece, he’s covering all the bases pretty well and showing us that he can be versatile inside of the same performance as opposed to a complete tracklist alone, which is a talent that I do not see enough of in this genre anymore.
I don’t believe there are many critics or honest listeners who would disagree with me when I say that there’s way too much artificiality in mainstream jazz at the moment, and when I hear a record as strongly built as Inner Path is, this fact becomes all the harder to deny. Guillermo Marigliano strikes home with an EP that is as much him as it is an answer to jazz fans’ demands for something just a bit more puritan in style than what their favorite mainstream players have been delivering the past few years. I’m all in, and I have a feeling others will be too.