To close out Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, the Berrie Center welcomed the Emilio Teubal Trio to play South American jazz live in the Sharp Theater. Teubal, the face of the trio and a successful pianist and composer, was accompanied by bassist Pablo Lanouguere and percussionist Rodrigo Recabarren. Playing in different Latin jazz rhythms and pulling musical influences from other genres and styles, such as folk, classical and improvisational, the trio brought the stage to life with their melodies.
“This is our style of jazz,” Teubal told the audience.
Some of the songs were composed by Teubal himself, while others were covers of friends’ compositions or arrangements that the trio created together. With Teubal playing on a grand piano, Recabarren on a drum set and Lanouguere switching between a double bass and a five-string electric bass, they delivered a complex and layered performance with songs that complemented each other but also had their own unique flare.
The small turnout for the show Saturday night didn’t stop the trio from giving the performance their all. There was a variety in the songs they played, ranging from fast-paced and frantic to mellow and relaxed. Most of the songs were a mix of both, starting slow and building to a booming climax before eerily fading out.
Teubal shared with the audience the deep connections that he has with some of his compositions. “Los Ultimos Seran Los Primeros,” which translates to “The Last Ones Will Be the First Ones,” is a song he wrote as a tribute while visiting his dying father in Argentina last year.
“That’s kind of a phrase that my dad used to tell me all the time when I was a kid,” he said. “The title has something to do with that. This [was] kind of the last thing he heard [me compose] but also the first thing that I’m going to remember about him of his last days.”
Another one that held importance for Teubal was a song called “Children of 2020,” which he wrote after witnessing his children’s experiences during the pandemic. The song started soft and flowy before building with layers of instrumentation to create a chaotic amalgamation of sounds that emulate the uncertainty of that year. It is just one of the many compositions he worked on throughout the pandemic that will be released sometime next year.
The trio also covered a song well-known to most – “Blackbird” by The Beatles – but in a special jazz arrangement. The basic melody was still recognizable, but the song was beautifully transformed from its usual basic guitar melody to a groovy jazz tune that the audience seemed to love.
The audience was enthusiastic and respectful throughout the performance, clapping loudly after every song and whenever Teubal spoke. It was clear that the music was resonating with them.
“I found myself just getting lost in the music so much,” said James LaForge, a junior communications major who attended the show. “The warmth and familiarity of American jazz paired with Latin rhythms and harmony just worked so well, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.”
What truly made the show a success was the connection and rapport that Teubal, Recabarren and Lanouguere have. There’s true musical chemistry and trust among the trio that shines through in the way that they all let loose when they’re performing together.
Before the trio’s final songs, Teubal paused to express his gratitude for Lanouguere and Recaberran. “There’s nothing better than playing with friends,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Campbell.