Posts Tagged ‘ Latin Jazz ’

Aaron Aranita Eastbound – Connection

ConnectionIf, remarkably, there may still be a few astute listeners around the world who, when told of the leader of this project, still ask the question: “Aaron who…?” the answer becomes eminently clear in the fine music of this double disc package. Truth be told, the discerning cognoscenti of fine musical art and to the really knowledgeable and worldly-wise musician, Aaron Aranita has been recognized as an artist of the first order for more than three decades – a virtuoso on an array of saxophones – from his principal melodic instrument, the soprano to the gravitas of the baritone [and everything in between]; and like the saxophone, a master of the bass clarinet, a range of flutes and an authentic multi-instrumentalist who plays piano, bass guitar and percussion.

But thus halo that surrounds his instrumental capability obscures a greater truth and this is that Aranita is one of the finest revolutionaries of orchestral music, making huge advances in structure, harmony, melody and – most dramatically – in rhythm, investing every form with inexhaustible potential for expression. In fact he has – using uncommon ingenuity – refined the orchestral sound of Latin Jazz with the unique blend of deep feeling and elegance manifesting a perfect, Clare Fischeresque synthesis of form and substance.

The Eastbound double-CD project – entitled Connection  (2022) – has come an opportune moment in time, which marks a reunion with Aranita together with Anthony King and Tim Gutierrez, original alumni of the Eastbound band from 30 years ago, plus a stellar cast of other musicians. The music here is more ambitious in its orchestration than may have heard from Aranita before and really allows this sterling ensemble to show off their skills. The result is that you get performances of real character and bite, with Aranita’s innovative orchestral timbres emphasized to occasionally startling extremes sustained by a masterful phraseology; sometimes by deepening mystery and often lifted by rhapsodic dénouements. Continue reading

Cortez/Williams Project – Hermanos

Cortez-Williams Project - CD CoverGuitarist Chris Cortez and trumpeter Larry Williams may be new to you, but their musical collaboration goes back to the eighties. Chris is the owner of the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts and hasn’t released his own music since 2014. Through his work with Larry in the past, they had a huge impact on the jazz scene in Orlando, Florida.

Together they presided over several groups containing available players. And although they lost sight of each other over the years, they remained focused on music. Chris formed his record label Blue Bamboo Music, and Larry became a session player in LA. The latter announced his retirement from trumpet playing in 2012, and shifted to guitar. But when his wife died in 2020, he returned to Orlando. A dream led him to a music shop, where he bought the flugel horn he dreamed of. One thing led to another, and together with a sextet, here is their new collaboration.

The title track opens into a lush Latin atmosphere, while the relaxed ‘Melody Makes It Happen’ follows. On ‘Glorious’, Cortez’ guitar comes to the forefront, and on ‘Un Pedazo De Tu Sonrisa’ the sun shines in a slightly Brazilian atmosphere. ‘Ask Me No Questions’ is a joyful track, followed by the light breezy ‘Silhouette’.

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Ray Obiedo – Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2

ray obiedo latinRay Obiedo: Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 on Rhythmus Records, is the 10th release by the Bay Area guitarist and composer. This project is a collection of Obiedo’s original Latin Jazz compositions, including one jazz standard by composer/arranger Gerald Wilson. Obiedo enlisted some of the music industry’s top musicians and longtime cohorts for the project. Yellowjackets’ reed man Bob Mintzer, percussionist extraordinaire Sheila E., flutist Norbert Stachel, trumpeter Mike Olmos, percussionist Peter Michael Escovedo all make significant appearances. Santana members: keyboardist David K. Mathews, trombonist and arranger Jeff Cressman, and percussionist Karl Perazzo also contribute their expertise.

This collection also features Tower of Power drummer David Garibaldi, Hungarian pianist Peter Horvath, steel pan player Phil Hawkins, vocalists Lilan Kane, Sandy Cressman & Jenny Meltzer and Dutch brothers Marc and Paul van Wageningen on bass and drums. Obiedo has 5 previous releases on the Windham Hill Jazz label. Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 is the 4th release on his Oakland-based Rhythmus Records label. The music on Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 is a highly-energized and rhythmically-hypnotic soundscape that reveals all the passion, flavor, color and style of the San Francisco Bay Area that nurtured and inspired Obiedo’s latest musical venture.

Buy the CD on Amazon.com.

Pete Escovedo – Rhythm of the Night

241491121_4093181084114241_6676575253244875579_nLegendary Percussionist Pete Escovedo is an artist who broke down the barriers between Smooth Jazz, Salsa, Latin Jazz and contemporary music. His name has been synonymous in the music industry for more than 50 years. Pete is known worldwide for his live performances, session work and solo albums.

As a young boy he would sit on the steps of nightclubs and watch musicians play. Music became his outlet. When he was 15 years old he began to also sketch and paint on wood or cardboard. Anything he could get his hands on, he would start to draw.

Pete did not know that his love for music and art combined would change his life forever. And this is how it began. Pete Escovedo has recorded 9 acclaimed solo albums, 2 albums with his daughter Sheila E., and the Latina Familia live album with Sheila E. and Tito Puente. The entire family has gotten together as the “E Family” to record the album “Now and Forever”, featuring Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Juan Escovedo and Peter Michael Escovedo.

His newest album is Rhythm Of The Night (2021).

Get the CD on Amazon.com.

Kenny Polson – Colors Of Brazil

Kenney Polson has developed a strong relationship with Brazil. After all, he lived in Rio de Janeiro for several years. Colors Of Brazil is accordingly a kind of retrospective of this period of his life and the result of the musical influences from that time. The circumstance that the relationship has not yet broken off is evident, four of the recordings on this album were made in Brazil.

Diverse as his music is also the nature of the international musical cast. With the exception of harpist Mariea Antoinette, the musicians listed are not household names from the smooth jazz scene. Please refer to the credits for more details.

The album opens with Aquarela Do Brazil (Colors of Brazil) written by Ary Barroso in 1939 which commonly became a global hit in the Western world under the title Brazil. Kenny takes the tempo out of the samba piece and lets the whole thing go very relaxed. Perhaps this is more the reflection of today’s serene lifestyle.

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Al Daniels – Brasiliana

Brasiliana – of or pertaining to mostly all things Brazilian. The music contained on this disk is not exclusively Brazilian in style and rhythms. There are selections that have variations of Brazilian styles and borrowed elements from other Latin American tempos and rhythms, as well as Jazz. But as the title suggests this album is about ‘mostly all things Brazilian.’ You will most definitely hear Sambas and Bossa Nova!

Ever since his early piano days of learning the requisite Jazz tunes, Al Daniels have been drawn to the music of Brazil, in all forms. But especially Sambas and Bossa Nova. The lilting rhythms and gentle guitar backgrounds were irresistible foundations for the melodies of Jobim, BolaSete, and Sergio Mendez. They were the models for the musical expressions you hear in these tunes. And, it is his hope that the listener will find in these tracks a unique approach to this category of Latin Jazz. This project began in January 2017 at Dennis Moody’s Studio, Los Angeles, California with the help of musicians and technical assistants to whom Al owe his sincerest gratitude.

Buy the album at Al Daniels’ website.

DiCosimo / Pagán – Con Moto

When bassist Jimmy Haslip produces an album, you know what’s going to come out: a jazz fusion album. The initiators of the same are organist Bill DiCosimo and bassist Edgar Pagán, who have been working together for more than twenty years. The album, which will be released in January 2021, is called Con Moto, which means “with movement”.

Contributors to the album are, who would be surprised, Jeff Lorber, Gary Novak, Jeff Richman, Jose Varona, Paulie Cerra and more. People know each other. For example, Edgar has already worked on Jeff Lorber’s joint album Eleven with Mike Stern or Jeff and Jimmy have played on Edgar’s album What A Feeling.

The album starts with the aptly titled So It Begins. A piece that flows along with a continuous rhythm like mercury. The piece is structured comparable a mathematical challenge and bass, rhythm guitar and keyboard complement each other seamlessly like a laying puzzle.

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Eddie Daniels – Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins

Six-time GRAMMY nominated jazz clarinetist-saxophonist-flutist Eddie Daniels is in love all over again and he describes his new album, “Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins,” as “A concert of love.” The romantic collection of acoustic jazz, pop and Brazilian music that dropped Friday on Resonance Records and has critics proclaiming their affection for the album derived inspiration from a couple of unlikely events: oral surgery and a random kiss. The follow-up to Daniels’ 2018 GRAMMY-nominated Heart of Brazil: A Tribute to Egberto Gismonti” and the second chapter in a trilogy conceived by the albums’ producer George Klabin saluting seminal Brazilian composers reignited Daniels love affair with the flute, an instrument he had not recorded with in 30 years. And that happened as a result of ill-timed – or divine-timed – dental work. A dentist put in a bone graft a month before Daniels was to head to Los Angeles to record the album, ordering Daniels not to play the clarinet or saxophone for fear that it would blow out the bone graft. Daniels picked up the flute and played it exclusively in advance of the recording date, rekindling his ardor for the instrument. Much to the surprise and delight of listeners, he is featured playing flute on four tracks on “Night Kisses.”

“I fell in love with the flute again. Going in, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to do justice to the romance and beauty that Ivan Lins brings to his music. The flute added that magic, taking the album somewhere special. It turns out that the album is more romantic than I ever could have imagined. I’m in love with this album,” said Daniels, a self-professed “romantic guy.” A major coup for Daniels is that “Night Kisses” includes the first-ever recording featuring GRAMMY and Emmy winner Bob James and GRAMMY and Academy Awards winner Dave Grusin. Daniels has a long history with both artists having played on many of their records dating back to the 1970s. While “Night Kisses” celebrates songs written by Lins, the three jazz illuminati team up on the album closer “Ivante,” a new composition penned by James in honor of his longtime friend, Lins.

When Lins heard “Night Kisses,” he said that he cried. “The album is fantastic. Totally surprising. Not only the repertoire, because there are songs that nobody recorded besides me, but the textures, the timbres, the ideas of the arrangements, the instruments used. It’s incredible.” Joining Daniels on “Night Kisses” are pianist Josh Nelson (who also contributed three arrangements), bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. Kuno Schmid makes an appearance on piano and authored a handful of arrangements. The tracks are lavishly draped with string section work by GRAMMY winners The Harlem Quartet. While the album title refers to the romance, sweetness, tenderness and love inherent in Lins’ music, which James describes as “romantic and adventurous,” Daniels fondly recalls another story that is romantic and adventurous as well as audacious. While standing in the wings waiting to go on stage 38 years ago, singer Deborah Rothrock turned her head just as Daniels was overcome with the spontaneous desire to kiss her. Their lips met and the couple has been together ever since.

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Ricardo Bacelar – Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio)

The discography of Brazilian composer and pianist Ricardo Bacelar is still manageable. After his debut album In Natura (2001), followed Concerto para Moviola (Concerto for Moviola),  a live album, recorded in 2015 during the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival at the Via Sul Theater, Fortalezea, Ceara, Brazil, and Sebastiana (2018). Now he returns with his second live album recorded in May 2018 at The Blue Note in Rio, Brazil aptly titled Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio).

Ricardo was accompanied by guitarist João Castilho, saxophonist and flutist Danilo Sina, double bassist Alexandre Katatau, drummer Renato Endrigo and percussionist André Siqueira. Most of the repertoire of the live album covers compositions of the groundbreaking Brazilian musicians Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

Ricardo considers his album, which was recorded in the intimate circle of the 300-seat Blue Note, an incentive to return to live performances after the end of the pandemic. Ricardo comments: “People need the warm sound and feelings of live music as opposed to the electronic stuff we hear on studio recordings. By listening to this live album, you can embrace the warm sound from the safety and comfort of your home.”

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Ricardo Bacelar – Ricardo Bacelar: Live in Rio (Ao Vivo No Rio)

Like here in the US, Brazil is being ravaged by coronavirus, making it impossible for people to go out to hear live jazz. Early on in quarantine, Brazilian jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar (http://ricardobacelar.com.br) realized that it would be quite some time before clubs and concert venues would reopen so he decided to release a concert recording of his band performing at The Blue Note in Rio to remind music fans what live jazz sounds like. Filled with the unique energy, warmth and ambiance that is live jazz, “Ricardo Bacelar: Live in Rio (Ao Vivo No Rio)” drops August 21 as a digital-only release.

During this period of dramatic change impacting the world, Bacelar chose to release a version of the Milton Nascimento classic “Nothing Will Be As It Was (Nada Sera Como Antes)” as the first single from “Live in Rio.” The duet sung in Portuguese by Bacelar and Brazilian vocalist-pianist Delia Fischer will begin collecting playlist adds this month.

The “Live in Rio” album was recorded two years ago while Bacelar was celebrating the release of his “Sebastiana” album. The set-list consists of songs written by Brazilian icons Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil and Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. Also included is a composition that Bacelar wrote with producer Cesar Lemos (Ricky Martin, Paulina Rubio) titled “Sernambetiba, 1992” from “Sebastiana.”

Source: Great Scott Productions