With 60 years of music making under his belt, the Cuban-born composer, arranger, and bandleader Chico O'Farrill reigns as the dean of Latin jazz. After arriving in New York in 1948, he worked with Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Machito. Carambola, the maestro's first CD of the 21st century, finds him in rare form. Old tunes like "Carambola," "Havana Blues," and "Crazy City (...But I Love It)" charge with a mambo-bebop fire. "Waller Exercise" is a ragtime-stride, New Orleans second-line ditty recorded to sound like a scratchy 78, while "Rhapsody for Two Islands" is a Cubop shout to George Gershwin. The timeless vocals of Graciela, the sister of Machito and wife of Mario Bauza, grace "Oye Mi Rumba." The CD's high points, though, are O'Farrill's extended compositions--his 1950 masterpiece, "The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite" with its mercurial, millennial mood, and "The Aztec Suite." Composed in 1959, the latter is featured on CD for the first time. Both numbers indulge peppery rumbas, bebop lines, boleros, and Afro syncopations with the touch of a master. Trumpeters Phillip Michael Mossman and Jim Seeley, trombonist Papo Vazquez and alto saxophonist Mario Rivera add their improvisations to the mix and make this aural offering one tasty Cuban-American dish. --Eugene Holley Jr.
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I love this album
desmoinesmusiclover | Iowa USA | 09/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Afro-Cuban has been out of style since, well, Ricky Ricardo? Actually, no. We call it Salsa now. Jazz enthusiasts need not worry, you'll love this album. These same rhythms gave Santana his unique brand of rock, so I can recommend it to any rocker who does not think that Black Sabbath is all there is. Besides, when you're watching The Simpsons, maybe you'll start to get the Tito Puente jokes.This father/son re-creation of Afro-Cuban jazz brings new life to an old favorite, The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite. Very tasty. Not just a retrospective though, plenty of new stuff.Go back to Havana, enjoy a Cuba Libre with a lime slice and party on to the original sounds that made Batista one serious party dude until that bearded kook took the fun out of it."
Love the trumpets
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I got this CD as a gift from my brother, a musician in NYC. Excellent, sometimes moody, Afro-Cuban rythms. Big horn section sound. I don't own any other albums by this artist, so I can't compare. This is the kind of music that makes you dance - in your chair at work, around the living room. You feel like you are on Miami Beach or some lovely tropical location, not in a dreary cube or land-locked high rise building. I am going to buy one for my best friend."