Editor’s Picks – Best CDs of 2011

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    Some of my Favorite Recordings of 2011

    by Danilo Navas – Editor

    Afro Bop Alliance - Una Más

    Afro Bop Alliance – Una Más
    OA2 Records – USA

    “I must confess That when I received the call from Joe McCarthy (leader of Afro Bop) to perform as guest pianist for un upcoming show, featuring Una Más, I had not heard their music, although I was familiar with them… Needless to say, after listening to the music, I was extremely impressed with the choice and the complexity of the charts…” Luis Perdomo, Pianist/Composer

    Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard - Chano Y Dizzy

    Poncho Sanchez & Terence Blanchard
    Chano y Dizzy (Concord Picante – USA)

    The drum and the horn, an inspired duet that played a vital role in the birth of Cubop. Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard, two Living Masters in their own right, pay a heartfelt tribute to Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie, two Masters whose legacy continues to expand in the ample vocabulary of Jazz music. Their musical spirits are more present than ever on Chano Y Dizzy!

    Chilcano - Madera Corazón

    Chilcano – Madera Corazón
    Saponegro Records – USA/Peru

    Led by Afro-Peruvian jazz innovator Gabriel Alegria, Chilcano has made long strides since its conception in September of 2010. Consisting of trumpet (Alegria), baritone saxophone (Wood), bass (Da Silva), keys (Prado), guitar (Fisher) and drums (Doing), Chilcano performs weekly on Saturdays at Tutuma Social Club, and went on a concert tour in Peru last summer, 2011.

    Daniel López Infanzón Quinteto - 8 Momentos, 8 Fotografías

    Daniel López Infanzón Quinteto
    8 Momentos, 8 Fotografías
    Self produced – Mexico

    In his early thirties, Daniel López Infanzón is an accomplished pianist and bandleader whose compositions are impregnated with the culture of his native Mexico, where he resides and evolves as an artist. Firmly planted on his roots, Daniel mixes in a delightful concoction of international musical flavors and rhythms.

    David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole en Español

    David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole en Español (Motéma Music – USA)

    Nat King Cole’s Latin influenced recordings of 1958 and 1962 were performed in both Spanish and Portuguese. Cole spoke neither, but sang the lyrics phonetically, maintaining his signature phrasing style. Although it sounded odd to native Spanish and Portuguese speakers, his obvious affection for the songs beloved world-wide by Latinos was accepted as it opened the door to a new audience.

    Jovino Santos Neto - Currents

    Jovino Santos Neto – Currents
    Adventure Music – USA/Brazil

    Jovino Santos Neto, more than any Brazilian musician, with the possible exceptions of Egberto Gismonti, Nana Vasconcelos, Sergio Santos—vastly different artists from each other as they are from Santos Neto—yet who revel in the deep roots of African, native as much as they do on European sources. These artists are in the forefront of a neo-Brazilian revolution that is setting the world on fire.

    Mario Adnet - More Jobim Jazz

    Mario Adnet – More Jobim Jazz
    Adventure Music – USA/Brazil

    Mario Adnet may well be one of the finest living orchestrators in contemporary musical idioms… He combines the skill of Gil Evans in his use of woodwinds and brass, with a stylish use of strings and percussion and although he has not written much for truly large ensembles he is easily the peer of the Duke, or at least the Duke Ellington of small and medium sized Brazilian ensembles.

    Miguel Zenón - Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook

    Miguel Zenón – Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (Marsalis Music – USA)

    Being a recipient of the coveted MacArthur Fellowship has given Miguel Zenón the freedom to pursue great projects. Alma Adentro is an extraordinary exploration of the Puerto Rican Songbook. The true soul of a nation reflected in its musical creations. The result has invaluable quality. Variations on a theme that are rooted in the tradition, elevating the standards to new musical heights.

    Paquito D'Rivera & The Madrid Big Band - Clazz, Continental Latin Jazz

    Paquito D’Rivera & The Madrid Big Band – Clazz, Continental Latin Jazz (WEA – Spain)

    Todo esto ocurría en Febrero de 2011 de forma simultánea en Madrid y Barcelona. En el escenario uno de los más grandes músicos del mundo. Paquito D’Rivera, un genial saxofonista y clarinetista que nos encandiló a todos con su impresionante directo acompañado por La Madrid Big Band de 18 músicos que sonó con la espectacularidad que requería el momento… chumanceralatinjazz.blogspot.com

    Sebastian Schunke - Life and Death

    Sebastian Schunke – Life and Death
    Connector Records – Germany

    On “Life and Death, the newest CD of German pianist and composer Sebastian Schunke, he presents a more mature, accomplished vision of his musical work. The eternal dichotomy of Human existence. His classical training exudes throughout his compositions, melding with Jazz and just the necessary Latin tinge to present refined arrangements that defy any genre.

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