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Raul da Gama

Canadian writer. Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a musician and an accomplished writer whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

Andrés Ortíz Trio – Recordando (Zone di Musica 2011)

For those wishing to hear what kind of music the Andrés Ortiz Trio makes, here is a clue: it would not be possible to describe it in two familiar words: “Latin Jazz”. The two words are most often ascribed to a musician of South American or Southern European origin and although two thirds of the trio would qualify for such ethnicity, their music has a much broader musical topography. The music swings—not only in the rhythmic sense—but in a broader, more classical [...]

Aguabella – Nuestra Era (Self Published 2011)

There has not been much activity in the form of homages or tributes to Francisco Aguabella, so perhaps the arrival of Nuestra Era is a blessing. The late percussionist has come to be revered as one of the greatest masters of Afro-Cuban music. He spent the mature years of his life enriching the music of the American West Coast bringing the sanctity and aural worship of the Santeria with his batá drums to the idiom of Latin Jazz [...]

AfroBop Alliance: Una Más

There is a sensuous, almost bordering on lustful, quality to the music on Una Más by the big band, AfroBop Alliance. Not that it is a bad thing at all; quite the contrary, the viscosity of the music is a result of the molten mix of bronzed horns and beautifully clouded woodwinds with elementally raw drums and percussion. The result is a saffron-coloured paella of swirling contra-danzas and soaring son-montuno and on event, a wistful bolero [...]
Yoel Diaz - Encuentros

Yoel Diaz Cuban Jazz Session: Encuentros

For the young, expatriate Cuban musician to survive the many assaults on the character of his music from all ends of the musical spectrum...

Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro – The Puerto Rican Songbook

That Miguel Zenón has been recognized as one of the most exciting young alto saxophonists to break into the scene has been known for...

Elio Villafranca & Arturo Stable: Dos y Más

Elio Villafranca is one of the most exciting young trio of pianists to come out of Cuba in recent years; the other two being...

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto: Corrente

From the first notes of the lilting, swaggering Afro-Caribbean melody of “Corrente” it is clear that Jovino Santos Neto is on his surreptitious way to making his Quinteto album, Correnteone of his most memorable to date. From there on, whether he is rendering a baião, a choro, marcha, samba or xoté, it is clear that his mastery of crossing rhythms as they collide with the idiom of jazz is sublime. The magical and beguiling polyrhythms of “Two Friends [...]

Hendrik Meurkens: Live at Bird’s Eye

Hendrik Meurkens is, most certainly, one of the greatest musical adventurers from Europe. The harmonica wunderkind who also happens to be a fine vibraphone player seems to have almost singlehandedly rediscovered Brazil decades after Stan Getz and Joe Henderson did almost five decades ago. In doing so Meurkens along with the grandmaster of the harmonica, Toots Thielemans, has cast a refreshing light on Brazilian music [...]

T.K. Blue: Latin Bird

The hypothesis that in Charlie “Bird” Parker’s music the cultures of the world collided may be new, even unheard of until now. The elemental polyrhythms of Africa were melded into the folk forms of America and both were glorified in the polyphony of European music as Bird soared. The alto saxophonist wrote and played like a pianist; sang like a choir of angels and broke endless boundaries creating a music so timeless and elastic that it will, no doubt, live forever [...]

John Santos Sextet: Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1

John Santos wants to draw attention to the virtually institutionalized segregation between Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean communities. He has always been painfully aware of this and condemns it in more ways than one. The most damning condemnation of it is his daunting experiments to unify the two communities through the most extraordinary cultural collision: and that is through Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1. (Machete Records - 2011), a superb [...]

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Fé/Faith

The thin line between theology and art was blurred in ancient times and this was manifested in the Psalms and in the Song of Solomon—both forms of poetry set to music and completely absorbed by devotion, praise and worship. What characterized this form of poetry and music was the complete surrender of the intellect to the soul. Thus the utter beauty of this art was able to shine with sheer passion and soaring spirituality. This is what characterizes [...]

Jane Bunnett & Hilario Durán – Cuban Rhapsody

Both reeds and woodwinds maestro Jane Bunnett and piano virtuoso Hilario Durán have released enormously successful albums lately. Bunnett made Embracing Voices (EMI, 2009)...

Patty Ascher – Bossa, Jazz ‘n’ Samba (Zoho Music – 2011)

Patty Ascher’s exquisitely floating soprano literally takes flight on her ever so memorable English album, Bossa, Jazz ‘n’ Samba, a collection of mostly original...

Charito – Heal The World (Zoho Music – 2011)

The question that must have been uppermost in the minds of many of those involved in this project, Heal The World a tribute to...

Danilo Pérez – Providencia (Mack Avenue Records – 2010)

Danilo Pérez’s extraordinary album, Providencia is more than a delightful suite. It is a love story… a love story between a father and his...

Paquito D’Rivera – Panamericana Suite (MCG Jazz – 2010)

The importance of Paquito D’Rivera’s Panamericana Suite cannot be diminished although it was released almost six months ago. D’Rivera premiered this Suite when he...

Bobby Matos & His Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble – Beautiful As The Moon

The master timbalero, Bobby Matos not only carries on the great tradition of the timbales that he inherited from El Rey, Tito Puente, but...

Phil Hawkins – Sugarcane Suite (P. Note Music – 2010)

The remarkable aspect of Phil Hawkins’ Sugarcane Suite is the fact that it connects seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive whole with cheerful alacrity....

Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble – Blueprints (Chicago Sessions)

Darwin Noguera is a sublime talent. Not only does he have extraordinary technique, something he seems to have worked hard on, but he is...

Michael Simon – New York Encounter (Fresh Sound – 2009)

It is not obvious that Michael Simon is a native of Venezuela, who owes as much to that tradition as he does to the...