A member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the GRAMMY’s), drummer and composer Jose R. Duque aka Jorodu is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. He has composed, produced and independently released eleven albums, as well as recording for other artists. Now living in Miami the Venezuelan musician divides his time between teaching drums at Center Tone Music School in Key Biscayne, FL, and at the Guitar Center Studios in Coconut Creek, FL, as well as his private studio teachings. His also the author of “the Drummer’s role” a total beginner’s drum method available on Amazon. A founder of various music projects, Jose R. Duque aka Jorodu, recently dropped his latest album entitled simply “JORODU”.
The album delivers a blend of rock, jazz, funk, world music, and even electronica, which to all intents and purposes, I’ll simply categorize as modern fusion. So what can you expect straight off the cuff? Spectacular playing by all the musicians and remarkable drumming by Jorodu, who also happens to play some keyboards and bass along the way.
What you will not find is superfluous showboating from Jorodu, or any of the other musicians, for that matter. Which in a certain sense makes “JORODU”, an atypical fusion album – and that’s why I added the descriptive word “modern”.
Not the musicians refrain from exploring and elaborating on the rhythms and chord progressions. It’s just that every note and beat is within the function and scope of the composition itself, and not to exult personal prowess.
This much is clear right from the opening track, “Fortuna non Omnibus Aeque”, which lays down ultra-smooth keyboard licks on top of Jorodu’s polyphonic, audibly perfect percussion, and then throws some fiery guitar licks into the mix. Hence you have a sleek, crisp and focused fusion track equaling the best there is.
“Nulla habeo nomen” forges a driving rock crunch that’s runs in ascending and descending progressions of power. Turn up the volume for a euphoric experience. “Ubi Umbra Vivit” is warm and enveloping with a luxurious trumpet sound swirling all around a delicately skewed beat which will tease your senses.
If start-stop funky fusion is your thing, then you will adore “Verbum Dimissum”, which showcases a brilliantly tight drum and bass combination. The biting guitar solos do the rest in making this track utterly captivating. But this is a brilliant recording from composition to engineering.
“Victa Iacet Virtus” is the album centerpiece, which lasts for 10 minutes and twenty seconds – every single one of which is beautifully and poignantly executed. This is an impressionistic tone poem of rhythm and sound.
Yearning vocal adlibs, delicately nuanced, are framed by an emotionally articulate and slow-burning soundscape, making the track standout as a powerfully expressive statement. “Ego Vade A Gades” picks up the pace a notch without exceedingly breaking the mesmerizing spell set by the precious track. Clean guitars and shimmering pianos fill the canvas while the percussion maintains a fluent rhythm.
Immediately, without hesitation or restrain, “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius” erupts with the passionate dexterity of its musicians. Dynamic, evolving rhythms and delicious solos, make this one of my favorite tracks on the album. Jorodu sets up the beat effortlessly, and then develops an uplifting synergy with the rest of the group for a robust arrangement.
“Ludo Duo” ushers in a smooth and mellow motif which gently grows into a confident beat. “Amor MCMLXXX” is cinematic in its execution and its epic sound will be sure to keep you intrigued right to the very end.
“JORODU” is an exceptional album on all counts. Brimming with memorable compositions and ample soloing room from the frontline, the rhythm section toggles between loose-groove metrics and shrewdly designed tight arrangements, spanning an extensive assortment of rhythmic configurations, where Jose R. Duque aka Jorodu firmly holds the reins.