Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 1 – A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin Jazz

Salsa de la Bahia

There is a staggering array of exquisite music on Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 1, which is unlike other compilations featuring various artists. There is something of a golden thread that runs through the entire 2-CD collection. And this makes it unique. This ground breaking anthology of Afro-Cuban music reveals the hidden history of tropical heat from the San Francisco Bay Area, in … [Read more...]

Poncho Sánchez and His Latin Jazz Band – Live in Hollywood

Poncho Sanchez - Live in Hollywood

Poncho Sánchez’s established his pedigree very early in life, performing with Cal Tjader—who invited him for just one set in 1975, and with whom he ended up staying until he died in 1982. Mr. Tjader became Poncho Sánchez’s mentor, and he was instrumental in getting Carl Jefferson, founder of Concord records to sign Mr. Sánchez for a one record deal. Fortuitously that deal … [Read more...]

Buika – La noche más larga

Buika

There is an aspect of vocalastics in a rarified realm that when attained by the singer, replaces earthly country and heritage with the whole of the cosmos. Vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, and more recently, Lucía Pulido have attained that status. And now, Buika, as well... Singing in a flamenco idiom, conjuring up the perfect polyrhythmic storm of Africa, of … [Read more...]

Border-Free: Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers

Chucho Valdes - Border-Free

* Previously reviewed and selected as Album of the Week on May 21, 2012. - The connotation of the music of Chucho Valdés being Border-Free, from soul to finger-tips, is that idiom and metaphor melt—one into the other—and that lines are blurred; so much so that the imagery and sound of musical topography of continents merge in a singular, beautiful song. In Spanish the title … [Read more...]

Two Releases of Ricardo Silveira on Adventure Music

Ricardo Silveira

The masterful Brasilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira has produced two records recently. The first one is a guitar duet with another guitar master, Roberto Taufic, who has been surprising fans and critics alike with his solo projects and duets with bassists and pianists, guitarists and vocalists alike from Brasil to Italy and Germany. The other record by Mr. Silveira is a … [Read more...]

Pedro Martins – Sonhando Alto (Dreaming High)

Pedro Martins - Sonhando Alto

Pedro Martins has arrived. Just like that the young guitarist has simply exploded on the musical stage, continuing the line of Brasilian guitarists who have taken a leap of faith from the tradition they serve so brilliantly; adhering to it and creating within its rich environs when necessary, and making a run for it as they push out of its boundaries when the need arises. On … [Read more...]

The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band – ¡Ritmo! (2013 Latin Grammy Nominee)

The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band - ¡Ritmo!

* Previously reviewed and selected as Album of the Week on February 11, 2012.- Here is a truly special compendium of charts that pays homage to the human flow of sound and silence while employing in a most ingenious manner all of the elements, such as accent, meter and tempo—which relate to the forward movement of music—as few other Big Bands can compare in style and … [Read more...]

Michel Camilo – What’s Up? (2013 Latin Grammy Nominee)

Whats Up - Michel Camilo

The impish name of his album, What’s Up? would seem to suggest that Michel Camilo is having more fun on his second solo album than he did on the 2005 record entitled simply Solo. However there is much more to the album than a mere frolic on the grandest keyboard in music. Mr. Camilo is a complex character and while he is a showman and a thrilling virtuoso who likes to dazzle … [Read more...]

Negroni’s Trio – On The Way (2013 Latin Grammy Nominee)

On the Way - Negronis Trio

* Previously reviewed and selected as Album of the Week on October 15, 2012.- José Negroni’s piano playing is unique. Although he can be lithe and delicate in his expression his touch is generally heavier, almost like the hand of a conguero. Of course he is not that instrumentalist and his playing is informed by that of someone like Don Pullen, who not only played but … [Read more...]

Juan Carmona – Alchemya

Juan Carmona - Alchemya

The nine daughters born of Zeus and Mnemosyne, water nymphs awash in springs of Helicon and Pieris; the nine muses who ignite the impulse to adorn every word, every brush-stroke and every musical note have been awoken again. This time not only did they inhabit every stroke of the chisel as it etched a sketch in an Ionic or Doric column; or in every pluck of the string of a … [Read more...]