The pianist, Elaine Elias who has since she made her presence felt on the world stage, striven to bring Brasilian music to a new high. She has used all of her terrific pianism rooted in the Brasilian idiom to do this. Elias has always been one of the most attractive pianists to listen to. The sensual rocking of her lines has brought to life all of the suggestive dancing that lures you into a beautiful stupor. Her playing is sometimes suggestive of a whisper in the ear of the listener with lips fluttering so close that you can almost feel them. I cannot think when I last heard a pianist who brought Brasilian music so close to the trembling nerves of the body. Listening to (and watching) her fingers caress the keys of the piano is quite another matter altogether. Full Review…

Gonzalo Rubalcaba has sojourned all over the topography of music ever since his performing days in Cuba and the rest of the world, and ever since he was discovered by Charlie Haden. He might be said to have blazed brave new trails between Afro-Cuban music and Afro-American. His extraordinary virtuosity as a pianist and his unbridled genius as a musician has been brought forth on a number of recordings from the earliest days to his magnificent album Fé/Faith (5Passion 2011). Throughout the course of his career the Afro-Cuban idiom has defined his music in overt as well as more subtle ways when he was playing jazz. But on Suite Caminos he delves much deeper into his origins. As a result the music on this album addresses Santeria in a more direct manner. Full Review…

What does it mean “to belong”? The Webster suggests that it is a verb that is defined as “to have or be in a usual or proper place…” and is “…used to say that someone or something should be in a particular place or situation…” But in a certain context it also suggests something that the result of which gives identity, such as he or she” has a sense of belonging to” a particular tribe or place on earth. This gives that person character. That belonging and now that sense of it enables that special person to drop roots and anchor; to live, breathe and dream in the unique language of that unique place and situation. And again, the “language” must receive its broadest, most sweeping frame of reference: something that encompasses an ethos—an art of expression, be it speech or song or dance… a complete and unique form of expression. Full Review…

Few sets of brothers (as far as sisters go there is always the Labèque sisters) have such surprising material up their sleeves as The Rodriguez Brothers. Somehow, these siblings can be usually counted upon to devise intriguing soundscapes in whatever musical idiom they are tackling. This certainly holds true for their Impromptu album of music – eight songs for sextet that the brothers help tweak with invigorating, exciting and often feisty brilliance. Both trumpeter Michael Rodriguez and pianist Robert give sonorous and probing performances on their respective instruments. Bassist Carlos Henriquez, drummer Ludwig Afonso and percussionist Samuel Torres, with Roberto Rodriguez chipping in on “Minor Things” also do the same for the music. Full Review…

Wayne Wallace has accomplished more than most musicians do in a lifetime. He has done so not merely because as a musician he is ubiquitous but he has his own label through which he gives deserving musicians in the Latin Jazz idiom a break. He also is practically through his Salsa de la Bahia projects keeping the flame of that idiom alive, with a handful of musicians, on the West Coast at least. Notwithstanding all of the above, Wayne Wallace is simply one of the most gifted trombonists playing today and that too, in any musical idiom. And he uses all of these eclectic gifts almost unobtrusively except when he makes a record that ends up receiving not enough accolades it deserves. Intercambio is one of those records. Full Review…

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