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Worldly Jazz Trio La Lucha’s “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” | Available via Arbors Records

La Lucha Releases Debut Recording for Arbors Records:
Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Available June 12

La Lucha presents their newest album and debut for Arbors Records, Everybody Wants To Rule The World. This project displays the telepathic interplay you expect from a band that’s been together for years. The trio consists of best friends from three different parts of the world: Colombia (Alejandro Arenas), Mexico (John O’Leary), and the United States (Mark Feinman), who met in 2006. The combination of these three spirited personalities has endeared listeners to the band, and to an ever-widening circle of collaborators. La Lucha has built an impressive resume performing with jazz legends including Randy Brecker, Dick Hyman, Charles McPherson, Wycliffe Gordon, Marty Morell; as well as, the renowned guests that appear on this album: Melissa Aldana, Ken Peplowski, Chuck Redd, Diego Figueiredo, and Houston Person.

Beautifully produced by clarinetist Ken Peplowski, this album features a diverse and creative group of musicians with widely eclectic interests. From punk to heavy metal, salsa, jazz, world music, and even classical tuba, La Lucha melds their energies and unique musical and cultural backgrounds to create their sound. This is evident in their original compositions as well as the choice of cover material, including Latin American styles, American Songbook standards, and self-described ‘twisted arrangements’ of pop tunes. Having grown up in very different parts of the world with varied musical influences permeates throughout the music. “We find that jazz is the perfect vehicle for those differences to meld together, due to the freedom that exists within it. There is also a wonderful human and musical coexistence within La Lucha and that gives us a joy that sets the tone of what we do.”

Everybody Wants To Rule The World opens with the virtuosic playing of Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo in “Por La Tarde,” an original by Arenas that was influenced by the Colombian music style Bambuco. Followed up by “Space Oddity,” crafted with the original Bowie recording in mind, and produced with background colors and sounds of a Moog synthesizer. “Lullaby Medley” melds two songs that have nothing in common but the titles, showcasing vibraphonist Chuck Redd. Written expressly for their friend and the only song on the album to have a straight ahead swing feel, “Blues For Houston Person” displays the deep innate sense of blues that saxophonist Houston Person personifies.

“1+2” lays out a haunting melody composed by Feinman, inspired by his journey through new parenthood written after his daughter was born last May. This number also acts as the first appearance on the album by one of the truly great saxophonists on the scene, Melissa Aldana.

There’s so much compositional strength in this trio, not least of which is O’Leary, whose theme “The Sundering” is a sinuous and tricky melody, which shows how incredibly tight La Lucha moves together as a band. “I was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and an American father; the summer before my 13th birthday, my mother and I packed our bags and left everything behind to have a chance at the American Dream.” O’Leary explains, “The Sundering” is a piece dedicated to the immigrant families that are separated from their children at our southern border. They weren’t as fortunate as me to be born Americans. That could have been me.”

“Otra Vez” is a catchy melody written by Feinman who describes it as a “Jewish Cumbia” and features Peplowski and Aldana. “Sometimes it’s just a spark of an idea that expands once we start exploring, other times it’s a full-fledged idea that the guys beautifully arrange.” Feinman spoke on their shared writing experience, “Having shared interests and experiencing new adventures with my brothers, I always compose specifically for Alejandro and John.” “Don’t Talk” is a timeless melody by Brian Wilson, and La Lucha makes it sound like it belongs to them while still honoring the original.

The title track of the recording, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” features Aldana answering herself as a “ghost” voice, and captures the essence of the lyrics in the original recording. “Lilis,” also written by Arenas, shows another side of La Lucha, channeling the great soul and funk recordings of times gone by, but filtered through their own perspective. “Dance Dance Dance” is a pop song by Feinman with a “Billy Preston meets Yes” tone to it. Patrick Swayze’s hit “She’s Like The Wind” from the movie Dirty Dancing is played with very simpatico trio playing and occasional Fender Rhodes comments by Peplowski. The record closes with a Brazilian chorus singing at the end of this very blissful number, “Samba Pra Diego” written by Arenas for Figueiredo.

With a name meaning ‘the fight or struggle,’ La Lucha positively reminds the audience to overcome whatever one needs, including the obstacles found in living with a commitment to an artistic life. “Trust is at the core of what we do. Our approach to writing and arranging music is very democratic, because each member of the group is an essential part of the La Lucha sound and brings something unique to the table. The sound we have is impossible to achieve without this particular combination of individuals, and that sound is the essence of our music.”

La Lucha · Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Arbors Records · Release Date: June 12, 2020

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