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Chucho meets NY's Latin Jazz elite!
Tommy Muriel | Puerto Rico | 02/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though for half of this album, Chucho Valdes actually takes a back seat as a sideman in order for his guests to take the lead, this is a pretty good, though short, session. Here Chucho meets some of New York's elite of Latin Jazz musicians, like piano wizard Hilton Ruiz, timbales legend Nicky Marrero, trombonist Angel "Papo" Vazquez, percussion virtuoso Anthony Carrillo, legendary bassist Joe Santiago, drummer Horacio "El Negro "Hernandez (whose credit is erroneously omitted) and saxophonists Mauricio Smith and Manuel Valera. Also joining Chucho on this set are fellow Cuban greats Bobby Carcasses (vocals and flugelhorn), Joaquin Oliveros (flute) and the legendary Francisco Fellove. This short set goes back and forth from Latin jazz to traditional. The opener "Tumbao" is Chucho's definite showcase, as he opens it with an amazing display of sheer virtuosity, both with and without accompainment. Nicky Marrero joins him here at the end with a rare timbales solo, using jazz brushes instead of the traditional sticks. "Danzon Para Sylvia," a gem by Cachao, has Oliveros sitting in for a true taste of typical flute in the charanga tradition, with Chucho again showing his prowess and Jim Seeley, currently the lead trumpeter for the acclaimed Chico O'Farrill Big Band, laying down the melody beautifully. Carcasses takes over for the next two songs, also penned by him. "Blues A Beny Moré" is a tribute to the essential Cuban singer with Valera wailing on alto and Carcasses showing his stuff on vocals and flugelhorn. "Blues A Puerto Rico," despite its title, is pure traditional salsa feast with a Cuban twist, where Carcasses salutes some of Puerto Rico's finest musicians and Marrero again takes a short but torrid solo, this time using the default drumsticks.Fellove comes next, with a new rendition of his standard "Mango Mangué." Though he undeniably has seen better days as a singer, the way he captivates the audience and wraps them under his groove is admirable. A great showman. "Tunes A Coy," this album's closer, has both vocalists trading bars with spirited scatting and Hilton Ruiz sitting in with a wild piano solo. Unfortunately, this track is erratic at times plus was also erraticly edited as well.This CD barely reaches the 50 minute barrier, so it's safe to assume there still was more music at that performance that wasn't printed on this album. Despite this, and the fact that one would've loved to hear more soloist interaction from the rest of the band (considering the impressive lineup here), this album works great as a collector's item. The music that made it to this album is definitely worth listening."
Very good cd
Tommy Muriel | 09/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good cd but actually maybe a 4 star rating. The extra star is for Hilton Ruiz's piano solo on the last track. Worth the money, except for the singing on the track Mango Manguei. The jam is good but the interpreter's vocals and scat falls short of his past on this old song. However Hilton's performance on the last track makes up for it. Yes, I know that Chucho is amazing but Hilton is the man on this track."
Ezquisite blending of technique and soul.
email@example.com | California | 07/07/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A tremendous outpouring of infectious synchopation and melodies that bring out what is truly music to sooth the savage breasts. Chucho pays homage to both his father and his motherland .His co- conspiritors on this assualt to the senses are equally founded in technique and spirit. With General Chucho leading the assualt, its no wonder that all territories of one's sensese are conquered. Bravo, Chucho! You have conquered! . Chucho and his music may be from Cuba, but they belong to the world!"