Venezuelan-born composer and guitarist Aquiles Báez has been known for confusing audiences. "For jazz fans, I am too folkloric, while for those into folk, I am too academic," he writes in the liner notes of La Patilla, his latest release on Cacao Música. "I believe that my music is as eclectic as the landscape, belonging to a space that is not lineal, but fractal."
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A graduate of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory in Caracas, Báez skillfully bridges the gap between traditional and modern Latin music, allowing foreign influences to seep into his sound without compromising his roots. With La Patilla, he has crafted a record that reflects all of these styles, which range from the free-form musicality of Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Paschoal to the more structured vibes of Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. For instance, "A San Benito" has a clear Afro-Cuban vibe, beginning with lots of percussion that leads the way to Anat Cohen's clarinet, while "Bajo Tu Techo de Estrellas" has a softer vibe, closer to bossa nova. During his appearance at the Arsht Center, Báez will showcase material from this disc, as well as his personal tributes to the works of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gismonti, Astor Piazzolla, and the painter Armando Reverón, all who have helped shape his musical path.