A Million Dreams opens with Colom’s ‘Wholeness’. The immersive track is based on Scriabin’s colour concept (influenced by synesthesia, an involuntary condition wherein one experiences sensation in one sense – colour – in response to stimulus in another – music) and is inspired by sunrise in Barcelona, the city in which Colom grew up musically, specifically the colour between blue and orange. As one might expect, the tune develops slowly with trumpet and piano introducing the soundscape. The momentum fluctuates organically as depictions of the city awakening are realised. This is a wonderfully nuanced piece of writing and even when the volume of the playing increases the underlying sentiment remains intact – oh to be in Barcelona as the sun rises.
‘When Logan meets Miro’ is a fun portrayal of an imaginary conversation between Colom’s friend and fellow musician, Logan Richardson and Catalan artist Joan Miró. Stylistically, this track opens in a similar way to the opening number in that it starts slowly and grows, much as a conversation would. The conversation comes across as quite animated at times, with some very enjoyable drum patterns being played over and around the voices of piano and trumpet. I enjoyed this track and should have liked to have been a fly on wall listening in to the verbal interpretation of its musical counterpart.
‘Sketches Set Seven’ by Chicagoan composer Eduard Bland is the first of six covers on this album and opens with Joe Sanders on double bass. The playing is sparse, with deliberately placed notes that are given plenty of space in which to sound. The trumpet of Raynald Colom carries on the theme until they are joined by Tony Tixier on piano and drummer Francesco Ciniglio at which point the dynamics change and tune fills out – to very good effect. This is followed by the Benny Golson standard ‘Stablemates’.Colom has given a nod to the jazz tradition but managed to make this very well-known tune sound fresh without losing sight of the original. The rhythm section on this number is very good when the trumpet drops out and exemplary in their support when Colom picks up the melody further into the track.
‘The Peacocks’ is a wonderful ballad written by Jimmy Rowles that here is played as a duet between pianist Tony Tixier and Raynald Colom on trumpet. This is a fascinating tune in that it manages to be both sad and hopeful at the same time: the trumpet is the more plaintive of the two instruments while the piano gives the number a tranquil air – a tune to get lost in. ‘Zyriab/El Alacazar de Sevilla’ is a Paco de Lucia written, Flamenco driven, number driven by drummer Francesco Ciniglio with punchy trumpet playing from Raynald. This short piece is all about the rhythm and sounds simpler than it probably is, it also leads nicely into the next track.
‘Powder Keg’ has staccato styling all over it and sounds raw, edgy, and vibrant. I like what Colom has done with this Wayne Shorter composition, particularly with its use of keyboards that change the sound dynamic within the album and gives the listener something different to experience. ‘September in The Rain’ is a standard and a favourite of Raynald Colom it also serves as attribute to Roy Hargrove. This is the most straight-ahead jazz feeling track on the album with a terrific opening trumpet section with wonderful bass accompaniment. The tune is played through as a trumpet/bass duet and enjoyed by an appreciative audience (the album was recorded live at the Fellini Theatre, Pontinia, Italy) and is a fitting end to the album.
I first came across Raynald Colom after hearing his 2007 album release Sketches of Groove so was interested to hear what he had to say some fourteen year or so later. With A Million Dreams being played by a quartet each voice had to play their part in ensuring that the sound produced worked at an individual level as well as collectively; it does both very well. The self-penned tracks have an air of confidence about them in that the notes are unhurried in their articulation and the tune is permitted to unfold in its own time. The covers are imaginatively arranged with an original feel that does not lose sight of the source material. I should have liked to have heard more of Colom’s own writing, not because I did not enjoy the covers but because I very much liked what I heard in the opening two tracks – maybe on the next album.
Just so you know, the album title comes from an interview with Duke Ellington in which he’s asked, “what goes through your head when you play?” and Ellington answers: “a million dreams.” Colom says, “I love that concept. Basically, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not thinking about notes, we’re thinking about dreams.”
Musicians: Raynald Colom – trumpet; Tony Tixier – piano, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha; Joe Sanders – double bass; Francesco Ciniglio – drums.
Tracklist: 1. Wholeness. 2. When Logan Meets Miro. 3. Sketches Set Seven. 4. Stablemates. 5. The Peacocks. 6. Zyriab/El Alacazar de Sevilla. 7. Powder Keg. 8. September in the Rain.