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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet

CARIBBEAN JAZZ PROJECT
THE GATHERING
CONCORD PICANTE CCD-2125-2

 

 


Dave Samuels - Vibes & Marimba, Dave Valentin - Flute, Dario Eskenazi - Piano, Ruben Rodriguez - Bass, Dafnis Prieto - Drums & Timbales, Richie Flores - Congas, Roberto Quintero - Congas & Percussion.
Plus Special Guest: Paquito D'Rivera - Alto Saxophone .
Recorded at Beartracks - Suffern N.Y.

1. Rendezvous
2. Stolen Moments
3. See You In A Minute
4. The Gathering
5. Bemsha Swing
6. Libertad
7. El Guarachero Intrigozo ( The Scheming Party Animal )
8. The Path
9. Masacoteando ( In The Groove )

This disc is the latest release by this group which is co-led by Dave Samuels and Dave Valentin. The Caribbean Jazz Project was founded a decade ago and under the watchful eye of co- founder Samuels has undergone a series of stylistic and personnel changes over the years. Valentin came on board a couple of years ago and the special guest appearance of Paquito D'Rivera marks the welcome return of one of the band's earliest members.

Like so many successful recordings the material is a healthy balance of originals and standard jazz repertoire. It is especially interesting to hear the ensembles' version of the sadly neglected Thelonius Monk classic "Bemsha Swing." In recent years musicians from the Caribbean have certainly been making their mark on the world of Jazz and this album is no exception. Perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of the players from this background is their high level of technical accomplishment on their chosen instruments. Cuban born Paquito D'Rivera is surely one of the most proficient saxophonists of the present time and he is certainly amongst the fieriest of performers - there are many fine examples of this to be heard on this offering.

Dave Valentin, who is of Puerto Rican origin, is one of the most distinctive flute players to appear on the scene in recent years. His execution is purer and closer to the classical tradition than that of many of his contemporaries, but he is an improviser of great facility and creativeness. He has his own language and his fund of ideas seems to have no limits.

However, perhaps the most striking aspect of the music contained here is the interplay between the front line and the rhythm section. The overall group sound is obviously paramount in the concept of the joint leaders. Such classics as Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" are adapted to fit the Latin ideal of this band, but the adaptation is in no way contrived and the piece loses nothing because of this. The original numbers are all of a high standard and the level of performance is excellent throughout. This disc would serve as an excellent introduction to contemporary Latin Jazz.


Dick Stafford

 



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