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My Favorite by Nettai Tropical Jazz Big Band

I remember Orquestra de la Luz and being so thoroughly surprised and impressed at their grasp of salsa and Latin jazz. What I knew of course, is the historical Japanese respect for American and other cultural music forms. This is confirmed for me in my exposure to this CD.

There’s so much power and thrust in the upbeat tracks. Unlike other jazz forms, I judge Latin jazz by its temptation for listeners to dance. However, there’s a difference in straight salsa, merengue and Brazilian sambas to their jazz equivalents. When listening to "My Favorite Things," you get the jazz element, when the band briefly breaks from the tropical beat. There’s a slightly different flavor pumping through "Got To Be Real" (the Cheryl Lynn tune). This has the appropriate R & B vibe, leading into the tropical break and back to its original style. The band is versatile so you don’t get the same treatment for every track.

Speaking of merengue, "Sing, Sing, Sing," jumps right into it head first. Complete with group vocals characteristic of Afro-Cuban music, this is packed with spice and excitement, but that could be said about the other tracks here as well. The CD mellows out a bit with "Por Que No?" for a taste of romance. There are some nice solos throughout, especially on piano, trumpet and saxophone, typically. It’s expected in this genre, and they deliver. Perhaps the potpourri track would be "Rocks" combining a little soul, rock and the tropics all rolled into one funky jam.

The excitement is double-dose in "Ruinas," a haunting ditty that has a hint of soundtrack groove. Some crooning and mambo are offered in the classic "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," appealing to the romantic in you, which continues in "I Can’t Stop Loving You." This is a real treat for me personally, since I couldn’t quite get into previous versions.

Well the 21 band members that comprise this ensemble have more than adequately done the job of delivering variety while remaining consistent. When you get past categories and shoptalk, you just have to say that it’s downright good.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Nettai Tropical Jazz Big Band
  • CD Title: My Favorite
  • Genre: Latin Jazz / Latin Funk
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: RMM Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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