Amaya Arevalo is starting to make her mark in the Northern Colorado and Denver jazz scene. She frequents the stages at Dazzle and Nocturne, supporting various bandleaders and groups with her expressive saxophone playing or on accompanying piano. But jazz isn’t her only language. Her debut solo album Love Wears Many Faces shows her audience everything she can do as she looks for her voice as a solo artist.
Arevalo’s roots as a University of Northern Colorado jazz student make the record’s handful of straight modern jazz tracks come as no surprise. Tracks like the opener “When Butterflies Fly Away” feel like tunes from a contemporary jazz catalog with straight grooves and abnormal songforms. She even includes a fresh arrangement of “Bye Bye Blackbird” that sounds like something Esperanza Spalding could have arranged and performed.
But in the middle of the album she gives us “Flower Amongst the Flames,” a singer-songwriter piece in its purest form. Performed with only an acoustic guitar and vocalist Hannah Rodriguez, the intimacy and style is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell.
She combines both identities on “Would Things Be Different,” which shares the intimacy and vulnerability of the singer-songwriter style but uses moody jazz chords along with poetry-like lyric delivery.
Stepping forward from the bandstand as a leader, Arevalo’s clear compositional strengths come from her jazz background, but she decides to show off a more straight-forward, soul-bearing side as well. She’s still searching for a musical voice that is truly her own, but in the meantime, we can all enjoy the hunt with her.