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Raul da Gama

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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.

Mark Levine & The Latin Tinge – Off & On: The Music of Moacir...

If ever a record could be likened to a comet streaking across the musical stratosphere and a long time coming at that, this one...

Sofia Tosello: Alma y Luna

There is a story that bears telling about Brasilian musician and multi-instrumentalist, Egberto Gismonti and his legendary teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Upon hearing him and evaluating his technique and his knowledge of harmonic devices, the story goes that Madame Boulanger said to Gismonti, “Go back and master the music of your country. This will unlock your voice and the world [...]
Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet - Bien Bien

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Bien Bien!

The music with clave that began with Machito's "Tanga," and George Russell's "Cubana-Be Cubana-Bop" has come a long way. With clave in his soul, trombonist Wayne Wallace proves yet again on his record Bien Bien! that the cheer of the music is truly infectious. Wallace is rare among musicians who can "swing" as well as he can "clave." He has that and all kinds of shuffle [...]
Samuel Quinto Trio - Salsa N Jazz

Samuel Quinto Trio: Salsa’ N Jazz

There is something about this new Brasilian-born pianist, Samuel Quinto that strikes a vibrant chord in the inner ear. Perhaps it has to do with his wonderful grasp of the joy that abounds in the Brasilian northeast… his sense of “alegria.” Perhaps it also has to do with his mature approach, wonderful use of dynamics, his expression and his innate ability to allow the tonal center of his music [...]

Poncho Sanchez: Psychedelic Blues

Few Latin ensembles have continued to play with such elegance, swagger and irresistible sensuality as those put together by Poncho Sanchez for decades. The leader’s ability to wrap his chops around the blues, and keep swing and clave together with attractive simplicity is now quite legendary. At times Sanchez can also blend his bubbling Latin repertoire with forays into a [...]

Benjamim Taubkin – Trio + 1 (Adventure Music 2009)

In music – even in a zone of sublime comfort – a small, unexpected ripple can distrub the ebb and flow of the wave, or groove thereby upsetting the complete sense and flow of the ocean of sound. This happens all the time, and can even stop and start a song in the middle of the first bar. That magical pulse must be felt even before the song begins. If it does not snap in the air [...]

Mark Weinstein/Omar Sosa – Tales from the Earth (2009)

Tales from the Earth by flutist, Mark Weinstein and pianist and vibraphonist Omar Sosa is one of the most extraordinary musical expeditions in a long time. The need for a subscript is not necessary. The extraordinary depth and ethereal beauty of the music would suffice. Nevertheless, one that subscript becomes evident then the music touches parts of the body that much music might not [...]

Corina Bartra & Azu Project: Afro Peruvian Jazz Celebration

The rise of smaller record labels and independent music producers has made a significant contribution to the number of musicians from other parts pf the world getting not just radioplay, but - in the case of important new artists - the recognition they deserve. Some of the fine musicians to come out of Peru recently have been Gabriel Alegria, Yuri Juarez, Hugo Alcazar and Corina Bartra [...]

The Odyssey of Anat Cohen

We are all – man and woman, child and beast – pilgrims here on earth. No matter where or when we are born, or where we live. No matter what we do for a living or where we worship. We migrate chronologically from a body with a finite age to another with a newly finite age. Or we may migrate geographically from one end of the earth to another – a tropical landmass to a temperate one [...]

Yuri Juarez: Afroperuano

It may not happen from the first note, but soon the music on Afroperuano begins to magically evoke the sound of the wind rushing...
Afrodisian Orchestra - Mediterraciones

Afrodisian Orchestra: Mediterraciones

Few records in 2009 are going to have such an impact on the world of music as the Afrodisian Orchestra’s Mediterraciones. This is because there are few, just a few musicians – even native Spanish ones – who have come to imbibe completely the incredible ethos of Spain. The myriad influences – from religious (Jewish, Christian, Muslim...) to ethnic (Western Gothic, Moorish, [...]

Chembo Corniel: Things I Wanted To Do

There is nothing like a swinging, stomping Latin-Jazz record laden with sensuous clave and robust horns and relentless, driving percussion to stir the senses....

Josep Soto – Groc (Temps Records 2008)

Groc is an unusual record. It is a Josep Soto’s not-so-secret and masterful way acknowledging the collision of Spanish music with the music of cultures that Spain, Portugal and other Latin countries set out to influence when they colonized the New World. Uniquely the Spanish music that Soto has experienced grew and cross-pollinated with Argentinean, Brasilian, Cuban [...]

Gabriel Alegria: Nuevo Mundo

Every once in awhile there comes a musician who, when playing his or her chosen instrument, seems to carry within a vital life-force that...
The Joel LaRue Smith Trio - September's Child

Joel LaRue Smith Trio: September’s Child

There is indeed a deep connection between Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. As September's Child unfolds the sweeping musical journey begins as...
Mario Adnet - Samba Meets Boogie Woogie

Mario Adnet: Samba Meets Boogie Woogie

This is a truly remarkable recording and features fifteen tracks that make for a stellar tribute bossa nova, before it became the Bossa Nova. These fifteen tracks were all written and most of them were performed during the 1940s and 1950s. There have been many recordings that purport to pay tribute to various historic periods in music, but none have been so exquisitely rendered [...]

Felipe Salles – Timeline (Curare Records 2008)

The angularity of Thelonious Monk melodies together with his idiosyncratic harmonic architecture, surrounded by rhythms that revolve and echo - bouncing off clouds and air. Sheets of Coltrane slicing through the wind, artfully chopped in short strident rhythms that rhyme with the rattle of the tom toms. High hat's chop-chop-ch-ch-ch-chop and rolling rattle of those toms again [...]

Mark Weinstein – Lua e Sol (Jazzheads Records 2008)

The amazing thing about Lua e Sol the new record by Mark Weinstein, is that might easily have passed like a ship in the night. It if did, it would appear to be a case of history repeating itself, for his historic recording, Cuban Roots (Catalogue Music, 1967) was similarly treated - almost as if it did not matter, when in fact it was one of the earliest and most important records [...]

Jane Bunnett: Embracing Voices

Jane Bunnett is never afraid to push the envelope. She did so with her 1988 album, In Dew Time, the now out-of-print vinyl that...