“Leo is one of the finest Brazilian songwriters of his generation, and at the same time he is one of the finest Madrileño songwriters of his generation. These two ideas are not in opposition but rather in mutual support of one another. As often happens with questions of identity and creation, one must leave their home to truly see it for what it is. (…) With distance comes perspective, and with perspective comes freedom. That freedom is celebrated, more than anything else, on Trinta. (…)
The flame is lit by the trio of drummer Borja Barrueta, bassist Pablo Martin and pianist Moises P. Sanchez. There’s something completely modern about the group, yet familiar at the same time. Barrueta’s innovative and entirely satisfying drumming elevates the piano trio + guitar format to a more unusual, less expected, more special place. His palate is simply richer than most. His connection with Martin is extra-musical, the groove is deep but playful, rooted without being heavy. The rhythm section leaves space for Sanchez to wander and explore. The trio opens and closes like a valve, tightening around Minax, then releasing him again, but always in support of the songs. It’s a hard equilibrium to achieve, to find the freedom of improvised music and the quiet control required for a singer-songwriter. Jazz, pop and chamber music all meet in a delicate balancing act, without leaning too hard on any one leg.
While the brief hallucination of the title song Trinta presents the literal case for the project (“Thirty lights thirty shadows thirty truces…take me to Madrid”), it’s another song, “Presente”, which mines deeper into that sentiment. It opens: “The past appears before me, like someone cutting in line, insolent. The past thrives in front of me the, marking its territory with nails and teeth marks…The future is not what it used to be. The future is already gone. But I open this bottle of wine to toast. At this point the future is like a present.” Minax is looking back, looking forward, and looking up from a lifetime gone by and simply taking stock.
Is it jazz? Is it Brazilian music? Is it the latest statement by an accomplished singer songwriter? Is it music for dancing? Is it music for drifting?
Without Brazil, there would be no Leo Minax. Without Madrid, there would be no Trinta. It’s an album that would be right on time whenever it arrived”.
Brooklyn, July 2017