Review written by: Wilbert Sostre
Eclectic might be a good word to describe the music on Purpose. This is the new release by Puerto Rican Grammy Award winning bass player John Benítez. The music is a reflection of the diversity of influences in Jazz today. Jazz nowadays has influences not only from Cuba, but also from Puerto Rico, South America, and music from all around the world.
The title track “Purpose” changes from a modern jazz intro, to a funk beat, into Latin jazz in just the first two minutes. “The Return” has a more relaxed, moderate funky feel, with good improvisations by Mike Rodríguez on trumpet and Manuel Valera on piano. The tempo slows down for the contemplative ballad “Pureza”. The warm and welcoming tone of Will Vinson on saxophone shine through on this one.
No doubt Benítez is one of the best and most sought out bass players in Jazz today, but besides his always impeccable technique, Purpose also showcases Benítez talent as a composer. Seven out of the nine tracks were written by him, including the contagious rhythms of “Rumba”, the funk/rock/fusion of “Seed”, the son cubano “Yagrumo” and the Bomba influenced “Bomba lírica” (bomba is a folk music from Puerto Rico).
Track Listing: 1. Purpose; 2. The Return; 3. Pureza; 4. YL; 5. Rumba; 6. Seed; 7. Yagrumo; 8. Inspiracion; 9. Bomba Lírica
Personnel: John Benítez: bass; Manuel Valera: piano; Tom Guarna: guitar; Will Vinson: alto sax; Francis Benítez: drums; Mike Rodríguez: trumpet; Pedro Martínez, Víctor Cruz: percussion.
John Benítez – Website: www.johnbenitez.com
Label: Seed Music
Release date: June 2011