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by Victor Noriega

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Alay I 00:40
Pandangguhan 05:44
Dahil Sa Iyo 02:00
Alay II 02:19
Bayan Ko 05:36
Kuya 04:44
Alay III 01:24
Harana 02:49
Bahay Kubo 03:35
Alay IV 01:35


Victor Noriega goes back to his roots on Alay, his second album, to play traditional Filipino songs and originals based on Filipino music. He was awarded a grant from the Jack Straw Artist Support Program to arrange an album of Filipino tunes in 2005, and this is the result.
Filipino music has absorbed European and American influences into indigenous sounds. And while these selections dwell strongly on the former side, Noriega adds jazz harmony to give the music pith and depth. His sense of time is sure and confident, and his vision never strays from a well-defined framework. The Seattle-based pianist works with long-time band members Willie Blair (bass) and Eric Eagle (drums), who help him weave a tantalising web.

Noriega is a lyrical pianist. He picks each note for its melody and extends thematic ideas without straying far from the core. He stretches out on "Pandangguhan, a pirouetting tune that was raised on classical music. He veers away from the upbeat to slow the momentum and inject some exquisite introspective passages. He showcases this side on the elegant movement of "Bayan Ko". His notes are spare and open, and the rhythm section is emphatic, even where Eagle uses the cymbal for accent. In short, a compelling performance that rises to a resounding climax as Noriega emphasises the melody through resounding dynamics.

Noriega contributed the title tune, "Alay", which means "offering". He dices the largely sparse piece into four parts, using an intro and a closing segment. Another original, "Kuya", has more impact. He rides a light groove, the lithe dance flecked by percussion to give it absorbing buoyancy.

- Jerry D'Souza (AllAboutJazz)
June 6, 2006


released March 15, 2006

Victor Noriega - piano
Willie Blair - bass
Eric Eagle - drums

Produced with assistance from the Jack Straw Artist Support Program
Recorded October 25, 2005 & November 8, 2005 at Jack Straw Studios (Seattle, WA)
Engineered by Doug Haire
Mixed by Eric Eagle at The Danger Room (Seattle, WA)
Mastered by Dave Locke at RFI/CD Mastering (Seattle, WA)
Artwork by Lee Anonuevo


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Victor Noriega Vancouver, British Columbia

Pianist/composer VICTOR NORIEGA has been described as having “the sensitivity of Bill Evans, the propulsion of Horace Silver and the experimentation of Thelonious Monk,” while his compositions have been characterized as “layered, complex, interesting and rhythmic,” “introspective at times, energetic and boundary-stretching at others… seamlessly blend[ing] jazz and modern classical influences." ... more

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