Mark Strohschein - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 21:59:03 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Luz de La Noche by Florencia Ruiz http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/luz-de-la-noche-by-florencia-ruiz.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/luz-de-la-noche-by-florencia-ruiz.html Luz de La Noche by Florencia Ruiz
In a day and age when most musical artists become prisoners of stilted genre-defining labels, Argentinean Florencia Ruiz eschews categorization. On her first U.S. release Luz de La Noche (Light of the Night), a studio recording from Adventure Music, Ruiz blends rock, jazz, and MPB elements to forge a truly original sound. Be forewarned: If you were expecting tango nouveau, then you're on the wrong train.

In a day and age when most musical artists become prisoners of stilted genre-defining labels, Argentinean Florencia Ruiz eschews categorization. On her first U.S. release Luz de La Noche (Light of the Night), a studio recording from Adventure Music, Ruiz blends rock, jazz, and MPB elements to forge a truly original sound. Be forewarned: If you were expecting tango nouveau, then you're on the wrong train.

Imagine if Bjork had a chance meeting with Brian Eno, Edie Brickell, Carlinhos Brown, a virtuosi pianist and cellist and they all decided to make a CD. That might be a way to start explaining Ruiz's musical epicenter.

Many of Ruiz's songs begin with simple enough guitar melodies, but then often evolve and transcend the norm. The foundation is built upon Jacques Morelenbaum's cello, Ruiz's vocal pyrotechnics, and subtle rhythmic alterations, all buttressed by creative studio production. When Ruiz bushwhacks her musical paths, she prefers not to backtrack, and we're left standing along side her in a strange forest.

"No Esta" ("It Isn't") is typical in that it begins with a simple melody—this time on synthesizer. But, as on many of her songs, there is a surprising turn, and we find ourselves in an unknown musical barrio. As with so many cuts, "It Isn't" isn't what we expect. The impressionistic, one-minute-plus "Que Pena!" ends abruptly after Ruiz applies a few splashes to a diminutive musical canvas.

The pop-like "Todo Dolor" features understated piano from Hugo Fattoruso, who has played with the likes of the eclectic Milton Nascimento and jazz legends Hermeto Pascoal and Ron Carter. It ends with Morelenbaum's dissonant cello and an otherworldly piano run. On "Nunez" we experience the unexpected again when the euphonious is uprooted by an epic, Arabian-sounding explosion of voice, guitar and cello, only to be supplanted by the original melody.  

The CD ends with the title cut. The first section is beautiful and simple, but then there is a 15-second gap of silence. We assume the CD has finished, but then Ruiz launches into a completely different melody. Did she begin with two great musical ideas that she could not ostensibly intertwine?

Regardless, Ruiz's penchant for the mysterious, the disjointed, the unrealized, and even the unsettling is what makes her music original and modern. If she has yet to become popular with the New York art scene, she most likely will. Adventure music, a label that embraces not only established artists such as Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto, but also choice creative, fringe artists, has taken a risk with "Light of the Night," and this time it may have paid off.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) World Music - CD Reviews Wed, 28 Dec 2011 19:02:52 -0600
Luz de La Noche http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/luz-de-la-noche.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/luz-de-la-noche.html Luz de La Noche
 In a day and age when most musical artists become prisoners of stilted genre-defining labels, Argentinean Florencia Ruiz eschews categorization. On her first U.S. release Luz de La Noche (Light of the Night), a studio recording from Adventure Music, Ruiz blends rock, jazz, and MPB elements to forge a truly original sound. Be forewarned: If you were expecting tango nouveau, then you're on the wrong train.

In a day and age when most musical artists become prisoners of stilted genre-defining labels, Argentinean Florencia Ruiz eschews categorization. On her first U.S. release Luz de La Noche (Light of the Night), a studio recording from Adventure Music, Ruiz blends rock, jazz, and MPB elements to forge a truly original sound. Be forewarned: If you were expecting tango nouveau, then you’re on the wrong train.

Imagine if Bjork had a chance meeting with Brian Eno, Edie Brickell, Carlinhos Brown, a virtuosi pianist and cellist and they all decided to make a CD. That might be a way to start explaining Ruiz’s musical epicenter.

Many of Ruiz’s songs begin with simple enough guitar melodies, but then often evolve and transcend the norm. The foundation is built upon Jacques Morelenbaum’s cello, Ruiz’s vocal pyrotechnics, and subtle rhythmic alterations, all buttressed by creative studio production. When Ruiz bushwhacks her musical paths, she prefers not to backtrack, and we’re left standing along side her in a strange forest.

“No Esta” (“It Isn’t”) is typical in that it begins with a simple melody—this time on synthesizer. But, as on many of her songs, there is a surprising turn, and we find ourselves in an unknown musical barrio. As with so many cuts, “It Isn’t” isn’t what we expect. The impressionistic, one-minute-plus “Que Pena!” ends abruptly after Ruiz applies a few splashes to a diminutive musical canvas.

The pop-like “Todo Dolor” features understated piano from Hugo Fattoruso, who has played with the likes of the eclectic Milton Nascimento and jazz legends Hermeto Pascoal and Ron Carter. It ends with Morelenbaum’s dissonant cello and an otherworldly piano run. On “Nunez” we experience the unexpected again when the euphonious is uprooted by an epic, Arabian-sounding explosion of voice, guitar and cello, only to be supplanted by the original melody.  

The CD ends with the title cut. The first section is beautiful and simple, but then there is a 15-second gap of silence. We assume the CD has finished, but then Ruiz launches into a completely different melody. Did she begin with two great musical ideas that she could not ostensibly intertwine?

Regardless, Ruiz’s penchant for the mysterious, the disjointed, the unrealized, and even the unsettling is what makes her music original and moderne. If she has yet to become popular with the New York art scene, she most likely will. Adventure music, a label that embraces not only established artists such as Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto, but also choice creative, fringe artists, has taken a risk with Light of the Night, and this time it may have paid off.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) World Music - CD Reviews Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:05:40 -0600
Live! by Yamandu Costa & Hamilton de Holanda http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/live-by-yamandu-costa-hamilton-de-holanda.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/live-by-yamandu-costa-hamilton-de-holanda.html Any duet album featuring Brazilian string masters Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda is worth taking note, and for enthusiasts who have been following these two consummate instrumentalists, the 2008 São Paulo recording "Live!" on Adventure Music represents another gem to add to the Brazilian duet canon.

Any duet album featuring Brazilian string masters Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda is worth taking note, and for enthusiasts who have been following these two consummate instrumentalists, the 2008 São Paulo recording "Live!" on Adventure Music represents another gem to add to the Brazilian duet canon.

Released as the import "Luz da Aurora"/"Light of Dawn," the CD includes mostly original compositions by either one or both of the artists, with the addition of the Nazareth classic "Escorregando" that rounds out the album.

As one would expect, the skill "Yam" and "Ham" demonstrate is inconceivable. While both players have a firm grasp of traditional Brazilian music styles such as choro, samba and classical, they continuously challenge each other in creating a very modern sound. They flawlessly lock into the up-tempo grooves on such pieces as "01 Byte 10 Strings" and string together amazing lines on "Chamamé" and "Seasons." Admittedly, the dexterity and intensity on display is overwhelming at times. However, the dizzying flourishes are always tempered by interesting changes in tempo and dynamics that only few players out there can replicate.

What this get-together also highlights is each artist's ability to weep together musically, as in "Light of Dawn" or "Flower of Life." The later, featuring de Holanda's brilliant use of wistful tremolo strumming, blossoms after a wonderful build-up of emotion.

The nostalgic melody of "Samba for Rapha," an obvious homage to violão virtuoso Raphael Rabello, who tragically died at 33, is especially artful and intimates at Rabello's duet cut with the great Paulo Moura, "Domingo No Orfeão Portugal." "Domingo" is included on the 1992 must-have release, "Dois Irmãos."

One hopes that these two kindred spirits will join together on future collaborations, as the musical dialogue between them is at the same time tranquil and intimate as well as frenzied and fiercely intense, like a long-in-coming cell phone chat between two recently reunited childhood friends. We are very fortunate to have eavesdropped on that “Live!” conversation.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) World Music - CD Reviews Sat, 06 Aug 2011 12:29:43 -0500
Veja O Som (See the Sound) by Jovino Santos Neto http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/veja-o-som-see-the-sound-by-jovino-santos-neto.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/veja-o-som-see-the-sound-by-jovino-santos-neto.html Brazilian Jovino Santos Neto allows us to glimpse the contemplative side of the piano maestro on his latest double-CD of duets, Veja O Som (See The Sound), featuring 20 tracks recorded in both the U.S. and in Brazil. However, the samba, so close to JSN’s heart, provides the rhythmic pulse on the album. The sheer number of talented guests is exhaustive, and any real devotee of jazz would be remiss not to check it out. Monica Salmaso, Joyce Mareno, Paquito D’Rivera, David Sanchez, Bill Frisell, Ai

Brazilian Jovino Santos Neto allows us to glimpse the contemplative side of the piano maestro on his latest double-CD of duets, Veja O Som (See The Sound), featuring 20 tracks recorded in both the U.S. and in Brazil. However, the samba, so close to JSN’s heart, provides the rhythmic pulse on the album. The sheer number of talented guests is exhaustive, and any real devotee of jazz would be remiss not to check it out. Monica Salmaso, Joyce Mareno, Paquito D’Rivera, David Sanchez, Bill Frisell, Airto Moreira, Mike Marshall, and—there’s more?

The “American” CD opens with some fire, as David Sanchez and JSN indulge in the jazz samba “All of Those Things.” Other highlights of disc one include “Santa Moreno,” a the speedy Spanish minor tune with Mike Marshall, “Caminhos Cruzados,” with eccletic guitarist Bill Frissell, reminiscent of the great recordings of Bill Evans and Jim Hall, and “Veja o Som,” where JSN explores the rhythmic depths with one of his master teachers, Airto. It’s one of the most indulgent and least polished cuts. The disc ends with a version of the strange jazz standard “Nature Boy” that will grow on the listener in due time.

JSN’s duet with Mônica Salmaso on disc two is worth the purchase of the CD alone. Salmaso sent JSN a poem from a São Paulo urban poet, the pianist added the chords to the “powerful” melody, and the result is an understated masterpiece. Other “Brazilian”-disc high points include a spicy forró duet with the accordian master Toninho Ferragutti entitled “Feira de Mangaio,” and the wistful “Joana Francesa” with vocalist Paula Morelenbaum. Duets with Gabriel Grossi and Vittor Santos are performed well. However, one can’t escape comparisons of “Canto de Xangó” to the untouchable Baden Powell original or Moacir Santos’ “April Child” to the indelible 2001 recording with legend Gilberto Gil on Ouro Negro, another must-have two-disc Brazillian jazz CD. (The big-band trombonist Vittor Santos also played on Ouro Negro as well.)

Nonetheless, the stars come out on this cross-continental journey of sound (six cuts were recorded near his home in the Puget Sound)—and between JSN and his brothers and sisters of sound, as he likes to call them. The intimacy that JSN shares with each of his guests is tangible, and the result is a two-disc set of amicable and classy musical dialogue that combines both sentimental, sparse playing with dynamic rhythmic flourishes. What more could one ask for?

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz - CD Reviews Fri, 25 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0600
No Balanço do Mar by Catarina dos Santos http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/no-balanco-do-mar-by-catarina-dos-santos.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/no-balanco-do-mar-by-catarina-dos-santos.html No Balanço do Mar by Catarina dos Santos
On her debut CD No Balanço do Mar, Portuguese-born Catarina dos Santos strives to combine the best sounds of the African diaspora, most notably Brazil and Cape …

On her debut CD No Balanço do Mar, Portuguese-born Catarina dos Santos strives to combine the best sounds of the African diaspora, most notably Brazil and Cape Verde. Instead of sticking to one definitive style, however such as the samba, bossa nova or the morna her music incorporates multiple Afropop elements. The end result is a delightful auditory flight to some of world music’s most inviting destinations.

The CD begins with the wistful "Mãe Bia Rosa," suggesting the sounds of the Cape Verdean morna. However, as with all her music on this album, she does not attempt to mimic any one particular style.

Dos Santos wrote all the music and collaborated with artists from Cape Verde, Angola and São Paulo, Brazil. The precise artistry demonstrated on each piece yields stimulating music that is refreshingly nuanced.

The second half of the CD, which is more captivating than the first, begins with some solid string work from bassist Juan Acosta and violinist Sergio Reyes on "Nu sta pidi tchuva doce." It is followed up by the jazzy Céu-like "Osobó," the sunny, danceable Cape Verdean tune "Odju bibo, Pé ligeiro," and the sambaesque "Kimbombó," highlighting keyboardist Eduardo Nazarian’s fender Rhodes.

On the last cut, "El Barrio Mayombe," dos Santos achieves a sound reminiscent of Brazilian singer Maria Rita, as exemplified on her laudable 2005 release, "Segundo."

While placing dos Santos on a pedestal beside Mônica Salmaso or Marisa Monte is a bit premature after all No Balanço is her first effort those who love to explore alluring Afropop divas should certainly take note.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) World Music - CD Reviews Sat, 02 May 2009 01:00:00 -0500
Merengue by Carlos Barbosa-Lima http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/merengue-by-carlos-barbosa-lima.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/merengue-by-carlos-barbosa-lima.html Merengue by Carlos Barbosa-Lima
With Latin guitar legend Carlos Barbosa-Lima, you know what to expect clean playing, adherence to the melody, fully competent ancillary players and a vast repertoire that o…
With Latin guitar legend Carlos Barbosa-Lima, you know what to expect clean playing, adherence to the melody, fully competent ancillary players and a vast repertoire that often includes Brazilian giants Jobim, Gnattali and Villa-Lobos.

On his fifth album from Zoho Music, Merengue, Barbosa-Lima reaches into the grab bag, reviving several pieces from the 1989 classic Brazilian Masters CD (with Laurindo Almeida and Charlie Byrd), including the odd "Invocation to Xango," the enchanting "Veleiro" and the bouncy Nazareth cut "Escorregando," featuring the "World Guitar Trio." However, what’s pleasantly surprising on this release is the inclusion of Venezuelan cuatro player Gustavo Colina, who adds impetuosity and an unceasing fervent attack on fellow countryman Antonio Lauro’s compositions, "El Marbino" and "Seis por Derecho."

Fans of choro will enjoy Barbosa-Lima’s two offerings with mandolin player Marcilio Lopes because when can you ever go wrong with Gnattali and Bandolim when played well? Longtime musical partner, percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca (also on the Trio La Paz recordings), adds apropos minimalism to these two pieces.

While all cuts exhibit a high level of musicality, Colina’s duets with Barbosa-Lima remind us that classical guitar ensemble work, while requiring masterful technique, does not have to sound rigid, lifeless or over rehearsed.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz - CD Reviews Tue, 07 Apr 2009 19:00:00 -0500
Continuous Friendship by Hamilton de Holanda & André Mehmari http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/continuous-friendship-by-hamilton-de-holanda-andre-mehmari.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/continuous-friendship-by-hamilton-de-holanda-andre-mehmari.html Introspection. It’s something that youthful Brazilian mandolin master Hamilton de Holanda indulges in more and more these days, as witnessed by his 2007 solo release Int…
Introspection. It’s something that youthful Brazilian mandolin master Hamilton de Holanda indulges in more and more these days, as witnessed by his 2007 solo release Intimo. On his newest album, Continuous Friendship, he and pianist compatriot André Mehmari share many quiet moments on this stellar duet album, another quality release from Adventure Music.

The CD opens with a wistful, rather classical rendition of Pixinguinha’s wonderful "Rose," and it sets the tone for most of the remainder of the repertoire. Cartola’s "It Happens" is another extravagant piece that fits the same bill. The two never allow any playing to reach the level of bathos or self-indulgence. Simply put, it’s two masters having a conversation, with two empty, red-rimmed wine glasses at their sides.

The two are incredibly in sync on the melodious runs on the title-cut choro and on "Underage." As in many pieces on this CD, they mix their introspective moments with bursts of impromptu exhilaration.

We know what de Holanda can do, but Mehmari repeatedly shows dynamism on his instrument from brusque Beethovenesque rants, to Gonzalo Rubalcaba-like understatement (See Charlie Haden’s Nocturne). He can even match Keith Jarrett’s 3 a.m. subtle ruminations on The Melody at Night, With You.

To close out the album, fans of "Ham" will notice that he reaches into his own grab bag, pulling out two tunes he’s previously recorded: Gismonti’s "Streetwise Baião" or "Baião Malandro" (Hamilton de Holdanda) and Morricone’s "Love Theme - Cinema Paradiso" (Samba do Avião). Although "Paradiso" has been reimangined by too many jazz artists as of late, the duo’s minimalism here works to perfection.

While de Holanda’s other duet work with accordionist Richard Galliano on Samba do Avião and with fellow mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall on New Words is exceptional, I don’t think he reaches the same depth of emotion found here on this album. After all, what else can produce those results besides two virtuosi coming together to solidify a most welcome, continuous friendship?

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz - CD Reviews Fri, 15 Feb 2008 00:00:00 -0600
Alma do Nordeste by Jovino Santos Neto http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/alma-do-nordeste-by-jovino-santos-neto.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/brazilian-jazz-brazilian-pop-jazz-cd-reviews/alma-do-nordeste-by-jovino-santos-neto.html Alma do Nordeste by Jovino Santos Neto
There is an old adage that suggests that one will inevitably return home again to discover his true identity, walking those same hallowed streets of his antecedents. Such i…
There is an old adage that suggests that one will inevitably return home again to discover his true identity, walking those same hallowed streets of his antecedents. Such is the case with Jovino Santos Neto’s new release, Alma do Nordeste (Soul of the Northeast) an album, for the most part, conceived and recorded in Northestern Brazil with old and new friends. Drummer Marcio Bahia and harmonica player Gabriel Grossi, who both appeared on Neto’s successful Roda Carioca, return on this latest effort. As Neto explains in his liner notes, an 800-mile, cross-country tour to the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco and Paraiba inspired him to capture the sounds of his grandparents’ native land.

The 13 cuts criss-cross the Northeastern musical stylings of forró, baião and xote while maintaining jazz sensibilties. Forró, because of its generous use of accordion, sounds like a combination of zydeco and reggae. It’s party music that is still heard on the lush beaches of Racife. In all three styles, the accent is on the two and the four, much like in a polka. The slowest of the three, xote is meant for slow dancing and is rooted in the German polka, the schottische.

Alma do Nordeste’s "Festa na Macuca" ("Party at the Macuca Farm"), an atypical baião in 7/4 rhythm, gets the party started. Neto had indulged in irregular rhythm on Roda’s first tune, the aptly named "Estrela do Mar" ("Starfish"), played in 5/4. Despite its odd time, "Festa" is unabashedly jaunty, and Jacob do Bandolim, if he was still alive, would have reveled in the cut’s tight, swift, melodic head.

Other energetic pieces include "Amoreira" ("Raspberry Vine"), Neto’s nod to legendary percussionist Airto Moreira, as well as "Alma do Nordeste" and "Forrô Vino." All three showcase the musicians’ organic musicality (it doesn’t come through as strongly on Roda) and ability to jam full throttle. The title cut is given tribal coloring with the inclusion of Tiago da Serrinha’s Brazilian bass drum, the zabumba, and his driving pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine), a mainstay in the choro form.

The most interesting xote is "Fulô Sertaneja" ("Flower from the Sertão"), which opens with Neto’s introspective, rubato piano. Marcelo Martins then joins him, offering a dose of sparse and soulful soprano sax. Martins’ playing is reminiscent of Bradford Marsalis’ on Requiem’s more somber tracks. Suprisingly, "Fulô" evolves into an admirable groove before it fades out.

If you want to listen to some classic forró, then throw on some Dominguinhos. However, if you’re looking for a CD that tries "not to recreate what had already been done so well by generations of great musicians from the Northeast," then take a ride with Neto and visit the multifarious musical landscapes that Alma do Nordeste explores.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz - CD Reviews Tue, 15 Jan 2008 12:00:00 -0600
Sunflower City by Matt Perrine http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/traditional-/-new-orleans-cd-reviews/sunflower-city-by-matt-perrine.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/traditional-/-new-orleans-cd-reviews/sunflower-city-by-matt-perrine.html If you’re looking for a CD that reflects all that is good about New Orleans and why its musical and cultural importance is unequivocally important, then look no further …

If you’re looking for a CD that reflects all that is good about New Orleans and why its musical and cultural importance is unequivocally important, then look no further than Matt Perrine’s recent release, Sunflower City. Sousaphone and bass player Perrine has been on the NOLA music scene for years, participating in such bands as the brass-heavy New Orleans Nightcrawlers in the mid to late ’90s, to his more recent trippy funk outfit, Bonerama. Sunflower City highlights many of the city’s finest musicians, including clarinetist Tim Laughlin, cornetist Connie Jones, pianist Tom McDermott, Washboard Chaz, drummer Stanton Moore, James "12" Andrews on trumpet and vocals, and Big Chief Alfred Doucet, just to name a few.

Also included on this CD are two tracks with special guests, the Pfister Sisters, whose throwback 1940s-radio-style, tight harmonic vocals provide flare on the risqué "May May" and "Miss Tourist," making the cuts even more danceably infectious. (Debbie Davis, the last member to join the Pfister Sisters, is Perrine’s wife, and Perrine wrote horn arrangements for its jazzy 2003 recording, Change in the Weather.)

On Sunflower City, an album that epitomizes New Orleans’ eclecticism and wealth of talent, there are also ballad gems such as "I May Be Wrong" and "I’ll Think of You/Lullaby." "I May Be Wrong" features John Parker on vocals and banjo. This wonderful, yet seldom-played Sullivan/Ruskin song from 1929 has somehow slipped through the cracks, only to have been thankfully resurrected from the archives by Perrine. The album ends with one of the few recorded sousaphone/piano duets, "I’ll Think of You/Lullaby," a tender meditation that allows Perrine’s melodic sense and McDermott’s key tickling to shine.

Perrine’s sousaphone playing is amazingly fluid, groovy and always harmonically interesting. He feels right at home with his other smaller brass instrumental cronies, blowing consistently amazing solos, which he does often on this album. For example, he has some great runs on the exuberant first cut, "Muskrat Ramble."

What would a New Orleans brass album be without an all-out, second-line flavored jam? That’s what happens on the CDs title cut. With its erratic brass interjections and the unmistakable New Orleans shuffle holding it together, it’s like a beautifully overdressed po-boy that you shouldn’t really finish if you know what’s good for you.

On Sunflower City Perrine reminds us all that NOLA is keeping its sunny disposition alive despite it all, and that any talk of commercializing the city or reimagining its racial or cultural identity should be put to rest. New Orleans is a treasure and so is this CD.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Traditional / New Orleans - CD Reviews Tue, 03 Apr 2007 19:00:00 -0500
Rumba Palace by Arturo Sandoval http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/rumba-palace-by-arturo-sandoval.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/rumba-palace-by-arturo-sandoval.html Rumba Palace by Arturo Sandoval
Decorated Latin jazz master Arturo Sandoval has said ".... [M]y philosophy has always been that I love music. I don't want to be remembered as a jazz trumpeter. I'd like…

Decorated Latin jazz master Arturo Sandoval has said ".... [M]y philosophy has always been that I love music. I don't want to be remembered as a jazz trumpeter. I'd like to be remembered as a man who loved music. Because I like to play piano, I like to compose. I like to do all those things as much as I like to play the trumpet." What people might not know about him is that he is at least as good, if not a better, pianist. This reviewer was fortunate to have witnessed a recent live show at Seattle’s Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, where Sandoval jumped back and forth effortlessly between the trumpet and the keyboard. His piano work was energetic, with unmatched complexity and dynamism.

On his 28th release, Rumba Palace, named after Sandoval’s newest nightclub in South Miami Beach, the maestro sticks to the trumpet and his lead sheets by coloring his indisputably mature music with a relentless big-band feel, reminiscent of the extended works of iconic Latin jazz composers such as Lalo Schifrin and Chico O’Farrell.

The opening piece, "A Gozar," sets the tone of the album immediately, as Sandoval’s muted trumpet whines over the rest of the textured brass accompaniment, comprised of two layers of trumpets and four trombones. His rhythm section is spectacular, especially his electric bass player Armando Gola, who always comes up with interesting statements within the pulsating, in-the-pocket groove of the Cuban rumba.

The aptly named "21st Century" is perhaps the most experimental piece on the album, featuring strong waves of brass, Tony Perez’ Chick Corea-esque cosmic chords, and an unwavering restlessness. It seems to suggest the chaos of the modern world, where few answers are revealed, despite the fact that a whole lot of soul searching is going on.

"Peaceful," an ethereal ballad, demonstrates Sandoval’s compositional range. On this short cut he trades some beautifully muted melodic lines with tenor sax player Felipe Lamoglia, who composed the CD’s second piece, "Guarachando."

The title cut, "Rumba Palace," has a singsong head with the typical steady rhythmic underpinnings, moving like a skilled dance partner across a crowded floor.

If you’re looking for a CD with the range of Sandoval’s Trumpet Evolution which attempted to encapsulate the trumpet’s towering influence on popular music this is not it. But that’s not this album’s aim. Rumba Palace once again shows the uncompromising Sandoval setting the Latin jazz bar very high, with many other onlookers only wishing they could eclipse it.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Mark Strohschein) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Wed, 14 Feb 2007 00:00:00 -0600