David Virelles

Cuban pianist David Virelles, known for his appearances with Steve Coleman’s Reflex, and with Ravi Coltrane and Tomasz Stanko, as well as featuring on Chris Potter’s highly acclaimed The Sirens, one of last year’s best records, and for his own band Continuum, has signed a solo deal with ECM, and his first album for the label, Mbókò, is expected in early-October, according to Amazon.

Virelles is joined by two bassists: fellow Wisława Stańko New York quartet band member bassist Thomas Morgan; and ex-Branford Marsalis bassist Robert Hurst, whose quintet Virelles also plays in. Vijay Iyer trio/The Vigil drummer Marcus Gilmore (who also crops up on new Mark Turner record Lathe of Heaven out next month), and long-time Virelles colleague Cuban percussionist Román Diaz complete the personnel, heard on Abakuá Cuban biankoméko drums, and vocals. Updated 29/8/14: There are track listings up now on US Amazon and a little blurb explaining the title Mbókò, apparently, fundament, sugar cane, or “The Voice”, as glossed by Abakua culture relating to a spirit, or spirits. But you knew that! The album carries a subtitle, too, which is: Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses, Drum Set and Biankoméko Abakuá.

Virelles, born in Santiago de Cuba in November 1983, is the son of a singer-songwriter father and symphony orchestra flautist mother. He became interested in jazz as a teenager and was later mentored by Canadian flautist Jane Bunnett. Virelles went on to study at the University of Toronto and Humber College and became a winner of the first Oscar Peterson Prize, in more recent years moving to New York where he has studied composition with Henry Threadgill. SG
David Virelles, above. Photo: ECM