Su Su Nje (Independent release)
Review by John Hardaker
Fusion of genres truly only work when each colliding style has enough in common to make the fusing seamless. Whether technique, timbre or just plain spirit, some common tongue needs to be spoken.
Bossa Nova of the 1950s had US jazz and Brazilian tang fitting together like a hand in a parrot-plumed glove. The whirling syncopations of Spanish music also dances beautifully with jazz – check our own wonderful Translators – and the flailing marriage of Irish jigs and reels with Punk Rock can be hugely exciting.
Travelled drummer, Daniel Susnjar has combined jazz with Peruvian rhythms, melodies and inspirations for his debut album, Su Su Nje.
Opener ‘Enciendete Candela’ sets up a rolling yet spiky 6/8. As the melody is passed around the lead instruments, you can hear the distinctly jazz elements and the equally distinct Peruvian elements working together – not in parallel, but twined like a two coloured braid.
What you can also hear is Daniel Susnjar’s easy dexterity and his knack of playing right inside the music. As well as keeping this tricky groove up he plays with the soloists, kicking along Laura Leguia’s soprano solo and adding some sparkle around Gabriel Alegria‘s trumpet, all without dropping a stitch.
His own drum solo on ‘Enciendete Candela’ – interestingly answering a short melodic fragment – is smartly constructed and ‘sings’ beautifully.
‘Enciendete Candela’ is one of several rearranged classic Peruvian pieces Susjar has included in homage to the country’s master composers and musicians.
His own pieces fit the mix neatly – ‘Land O Sus’ a lazier 6/8 with a sun-baked Spanish patina (check the fleet guitar solo of Daniel’s father, Danny Susnjar), ‘One Four Five’ a rock-fusion suite with some real arrangement smarts, ‘Fearless Feel’ a piece of percussion momentum that rolls like a wheel into tomorrow.
Perth-native Susnjar recently returned from the United States, where he earned his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. He has performed and recorded with artists including Chick Corea, Pharrell Williams, Bobby McFerrin, Terence Blanchard, Steve Miller, Danilo Perez, Dave Douglas, Chris Potter, Victor Wooten, Joshua Redman and Dave Grusin.
For Su Su Nje,Susnjar selected just the right players based in New York, Miami and Peru – from New York, trumpeter Alex Pope Norris, tenor Troy Roberts, bassist Sam Anning and Paul Bollenback; from Miami, trombonist (and conch shell man) Chad Bernstein; and Peruvian musicians Gabriel Alegria, acoustic guitarist Yuri Juarez, Laura Andrea Leguia, and cajon player Freddy Huevito Lobaton. Daniel was proud to have his father Danny Susnjar co-produce and co-mix the album, as well contribute as a special musical guest.
With Su Su Nje, Susnjar has created a fresh and bright thing. The Peruvian/Jazz collision is a soft one, like lovers coming together – and, unlike both the hush cool of Bossa, or the giddy muscle of Afro-Cuban and much other South Am music, the jazz-Peruvian thing is a unique vibe. I do hope we hear more of it.
And I certainly do hope we hear more of Daniel Susnjar.
Daniel Susnjar- drums and percussion/compositions and arrangements
Alex Pope Norris – trumpet and flugelhorn
Troy Roberts – tenor saxophone
Chad Bernstein – trombone and conch shells
Yuri Juarez – acoustic guitar
Paul Bollenback – jazz guitar
Sam Anning – acoustic bass
Freddy Huevito Lobaton – cajon
Gabriel Alegria- trumpet
Laura Andrea Leguia- soprano and tenor saxophones
Danny Susnjar- electric guitar
Daniel Susnjar on the web danielsusnjar.com