Quattro – Popzzical (2013)

It’s classical. No, wait. It’s contemporary jazz. Sure, but that’s not exactly it, either. Latin pop? That, too. In fact, Quattro’s deliciously uncategorizable forthcoming album Popzzical includes all of that, but ultimately fits somewhere in between.

Quattro, featuring cellist Giovanna Clayton, violinist Lisa Dondlinger, guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno and percussionist Jorge Villanueva, amaze and delight across the whole spectrum of sound on Popzzical, available through their Web site this week.

A peek into their respective CVs shows how they got to this amazing new place, with Dondlinger having played with both Luciano Pavarotti and Christina Aguilera, Clayton with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and an impressive series of TV shows, Matsuno with David Foster and Bob Mintzer, and Villanueva with Abraham Laboriel and Solange Knowles. Popzzical, which features vocals in both English and Spanish, ties all of those strands together.

“Baila” twirls and sways, while “Fusion” effortlessly blends orchestral flourishes with algebraic convolutions that would bring a twinkle to Pat Metheny’s eye. “Good Day,” on the other hand, is pure unadulterated string-laden pop — as sun filled as anything the Beach Boys ever attempted. Moments later, they’re working in half-lit introspection on “Sequire Amandote,” only to gather themselves again for the transformative joys of “Solstice.”

“Silky,” however, might be Popzzical’s greatest triumph, a song that begins with this touchingly baroque stoicism before soaring toward this impossible vista. From there, the blindingly talented Quattro takes a series of instrumental turns — each of them bursting with intellect, passion and virtuosity, but sounding like nothing you’ve heard before.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.