This CD is almost too rich in information to detail. It’s done very well in the supporting materials. Preferably, to concentrate on sound and mood, it’s equally as rich. It opens with the electrifying "Shortcuts," which could obviously set a crowd to its feet in a hurry. This is the biggest joy of Latin jazz, no shame in dancing. It’s not an intellectual thrill; it thickens the blood. "Mujer Chicana," is homage and tribute to Jose’s wife, Leticia. The mellow, romantic "walking" rhythm is like a photograph of a lovely woman, truly awesome, as the music would tell it. The playing here is everything one would expect from the best in the biz, and more. Great percussion and piano are what draws me to come closer to gather in more instrumental treats. The mysteriously joyful "Arabian Moods" is a nice polyrhythmic, multicultural potpourri with some real spicy sound.
If you like strong horns, "Mamacita Caravana" should definitely satisfy your soul. It’s got everything necessary to keep listeners at attention. Saxophones swirl in friendly competition with everyone else musically cheering the players on. The trademark vocals and highly charged trumpets make this something to play over and over. The sexiest track has to be "In A Whisper," with its seductive melody that goes a little past romance, it’s quite hot. Enter the tenor sax teasing like a mischievous lover. The piano solo settles it down a bit as if to tell the others to behave. Can we use the word "spicy" too much, or can we "kick it up a notch," as Chef Emeril Lagasse says. "Descarga Cachao," composed by Israel Lopez, is a slow burn to a feverish jam, ripe with excitement. The horn players are the stars here, but that doesn’t take away from the other musicians at all. They just stole the show on this track. It’s also the longest of the CD. You will probably beg for an encore after it’s all done.
Rizo not only produced this session, but composed six of the seven tracks included. Therefore, he’s not just another jazz DJ. Of course, those of us from L.A. know this already!!! Congratulations to you, Jose, on a job well done, but also to the great people showcased here. You really outdid yourselves!