Composed by John Finbury, the seven poignant, rhythmically diverse and thematically connected pieces that comprise his concept album Quatro were recorded by Magos Herrera (vocals), Chano Dominguez (piano), John Pattitucci (bass) and drummer Antonio Sanchez (drums) were recorded over two New York sessions in 2019 – many months before the unique events of 2020 altered the world.
Yet the overriding issues presented as a collective musical celebration of cultural diversity and immigrant resonate even more strongly now that the globe has been impacted by COVID-19 and the protests over the killing of George Floyd.
Fashioned as a powerful condemnation of those who seek restriction based on race, these songs fall on the right side of history, propelling forward the mission of ever-elusive social justice for all. Executing the unifying vision of Finbury, lyricist/producer Emilio D. Miller and lyricist Patty Brayden (who wrote the enlightening poetic words of the lone English sung ballad, “All the Way To The End”), the group creates the sense of a dream that can only be fulfilled with purposeful action. The set launches with “Llegara El Dia,” a hopeful statement balancing prayerful vocals and percussive rumbling influenced by the music of Peru and Mexico, and wraps with the boisterous, booming jam “Romp,” which showcases the heartbeat of freedom (complete with a touch of New Orleans Second-Line energy) intrinsic to every man.
Along the way, the ensemble celebrates a bittersweet “Independence Day,” passionately addresses our false assumptions via “La Madre de Todos Errores” and offers a thoughtful way forward on “Comenzar,” a stunning ballad about new beginnings and the promise of what is possible when we all realize our commonalities as human beings.
There’s no way Finbury and the creators of Quatro could have known what was coming, but they meet the moment in ways that will, like some of the most important works in jazz history, inspire thoughtful dialogue and meaningful action.