Pablo Mayor is a pianist and Colombian native living in New York; his Folklore Urbano is a large band which purveys an invigorating mix of Colombian music and hot jazz improvisation. The group's latest release is Baile/Dance and its inviting rhythms and attractive arrangements will make you want to do just that. For my part, I'll have to wait on that...it is a little hard to type and step at the same time.
While it is the rhythm players that keep your feet moving, Folklore Urbano features a very attractive sounding collection of brass and winds. The euphonium of Rafi Malkiel bridges the realms of melody and rhythm effectively, and flautist Anna Povich De Mayor weaves a nice sort of commentary into several tracks, while "Dobladillo a la Lengua" features a fine solo on the instrument by Eddy Zervigon. Most of the set features vocals from lead singer Ronald Polo and various background vocalists, but a handful of nice instrumentals are turned as well, such as Sergio Borrero's "La Pringamosa" and, in two arrangements, Mayor's own "Chalupa NY;" the dance version features nice solos from Mayor and trumpeter Scott Harrel, while the jazz version features Malkiel and Povich de Mayor prominently. Bassist Dave Hertzberg distinguishes himself on both, as he does throughout the collection as a whole.
Baile/Dance is a really enjoyable collection of Latin jazz that doesn't spare either part of the equation. Folklore Urbano flashes plenty of improvisational ability while meting out irresistible rhythms. Pablo Mayor works with traditional Colombian and Latin jazz material as well as adding his own original ideas. The group itself, for that matter, lives up to both ends of its name with its sophisticated yet organic sound. A very impressive recording.