Talk about culture shock-Larry Vincent, a native of Venezuela left his native country to move to Tennessee to study jazz at the University of Tennessee. In didn't take long for Vincent to become a local force in the Knoxville jazz scene. "In Exile" is the first solo release by Vincent on which he has combined mainstream jazz along with Venezuelan folk songs.
With Larry on the CD is pianist Donald Brown an alumnus of the Art Blakey group. On the bass is Rusty Holloway. Rusty has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Monty Alexander and Sarah Vaughn, and was also a member of the Woody Herman Orchestra. Drummer Chris Gray and saxophonist Tom Johnson round out the ensemble. All together the group delivers the music on "In Exile" in an upfront and powerful way.
As a native of Venezuela it would be easy to assume that Vincent would fall back to his roots and impart a Latin flavor into the music. Indeed he does on a couple of tunes, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is a Latin CD. He has compiled a selection of music on this CD showcasing his range as a guitar player as well as moving across a number of music genres.
Out of the nine (9) cuts on "In Exile", five are original compositions by Vincent. The band also covers Coltrane's 'Giant Steps, and perform a nice rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Not to forget his heritage, Vincent has also included a tune entitled "Sueño De Niño," (Dream of the Boy, if my Spanish doesn't fail) written by Gerardo Chacón, and on the final track, "El Diablo Suelto" (The Loose Devil.)
The CD's opening track, "Prince Paradox" is a rollicking piece giving both Larry and saxophonist Tom Johnson a chance to show their musical strengths. Make sure that you check out "Golsonish" a laid back-kind of bop-composition on which Larry takes the lead. "The Lion," is more of a "moody" piece featuring Vincent's guitar along with the primary support of Rust Holloway on the bass and drummer Chris Gray. While it has been covered so many times before, Larry and the rest of the group give an inspired rendition, including a pretty cool bass solo, of Arien and Hamburg's "Somewhere over the Rainbow."
So despite the fact that Nashville (aka land of the "Grand Ole Opry") is of course better known for its Country and Western music, Larry Vincent's "In Exile" is a well produced, well played jazz CD.