Alfredo Triff

21 Broken Melodies at Once

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Alfredo Triff is, you might say, a unique composer. Born and raised in Cuba, he arrived in the U.S. in 1980 as part of the Mariel boat lift, determined not to make his living from music, and simply play when he wanted -- hence the long time it's taken for this album to appear, although in-between he has played with people like John Cage (whose influence is evident in the prepared piano Triff uses as part of his musical arsenal) and Kip Hanrahan, who worked closely with him on this record. In addition to his composing, Triff is primarily a violinist, and uses his instrument effectively throughout (in addition to electric mandola). While his history is plainly evident on "Canción Rara...," he's obviously taken a lot of American ideas on board, as the big-city sounds of "Club Casino de la Playa," with its noir-ish overtones, make evident. He's also a more than adequate bass player, making use of the deep sonorities for "Distant Shore Dreams." An album not easily classified, this shifts through moods, sometimes abruptly, sometimes with the gentle movement of a dream. A very individual achievement, even if not for everyone.

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