La Emperatríz (The Empress) is the sophomore album of the Argentinian trio of Buenos Aires-based pianist Pia Hernández, following Lilith (Irazu, 2020). Hernández, who also leads a quintet, is accompanied by double bass player Nacho Szulga (who also plays in her quintet) and drummer Nicolás del Águila and guest, tenor sax player Lucas Goicoechea. The album was recorded at Estudio Doctor F. in Buenos Aires on January 2022.
La Emperatríz is titled after the Tarot card figure of «The Empress», traditionally associated with maternal influence, and represents the creation of life, romance and art, and a figure with which Hernández is strongly linked. And like this enigmatic figure, Hernández leads her trio into unpredictable routes, sonorities and textures, stressing her commanding authority as a composer, pianist and bandleader.
The three pieces with sax player Goicoechea add an urgent intensity to the subtle, introspective dynamics of the trio, and introduces a muscular voice to the vibe of the trio. The trio pieces suggest more spacious dynamics and highlight the strong personal voices of Szulga and del Águila, and, obviously, the poetic ideas of Hernández. This trio’s mature and always elegant esthetics are best captured in the dramatic title piece and the ballad «Pechblenda».
Pia Hernández (p), Nacho Szulga (b), Nicolás del Águila (dr), Lucas Goicoechea (ts)