Tony Succar & Pablo Gil: Raíces Jazz Orchestra

A big band project with Tony Succar and Pablo Gil at the helm has probably been in the making for much longer than the two years it took to make this recording. So what better way to celebrate this preeminent union than with an album of the same name: Raíces Jazz Orchestra? Opening this package and unfolding the CD sheet with details is, in itself, a dizzying experience. This is, you think, what a modern, truly Latin-American large ensemble ought to look like; with a range of traditional instruments being put to splendid use musically and that too by their greatest virtuoso practitioners – such as Jorge Glem and Henry Linarez on Venezuelan cuatro, Sergio “Checho” Cuadros on quena, José Ernesto Laya on maracas, Israel “Piraña” Suárez on cajón, Marc Quiñones on congas and bongos and, to crown it all, Tony Succar on timbales and cajón, with Pablo Gil on tenor saxophone and flute.

The repertoire celebrates this union of two questing musical souls [Mr Succar and Mr Gil] in the grand manner. The album features beautifully crafted arrangements of beguiling variety [delving into the traditions of Peru and Venezuela, naturally] and sensuousness, in every lovingly caressed phrase played by solo and ensemble musicians that fire on all cylinders throughout. Clearly the leaders and the whole orchestra musicians’ love for a vivid high-energy style of music shines brightly from song to song. The leaders’ chosen material is a judicious mix of original material from Mr Succar [and Pablo Gil and Tito Manrique] together with one each by pianist-composers Leo Blanco and César Orozco, and brilliantly re-imagined standards by Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin and Gil Goldstein, and the iconic Brasilian Jorge Ben.

Listening to the manner in which the musicians seductively bend the notes of Richard Bona’s “Invocation” and how the orchestra, led by the hypnotic vocals of Anaadi as she sculpts the long, sustained  inventions of Jorge Ben’s “Mas Que Nada”, it’s clear that there’s not a single semiquaver that hasn’t been fastidiously considered. The orchestra features a burgeoning rhythm section with a number of pianists leading a burgeoning group of drummers and percussionists that bring an enormous palette of colours and textures brilliantly to life. Clearly the musicians of the Raíces Jazz Orchestra are completely attuned to the vision and artistry of Tony Succar and Pablo Gil as they deliver this exuberant music with great power and mellifluous timbres. Make no mistake; the Raices Jazz Orchestra has a lot to offer. The question is: will they continue to make music after the dust has settled from this explosive debut?

Track list – 1: Raices Jam; 2: Feste-Fuego; 3: Mas Que Nada; 4: Midnight In Spain; 5: Perulándo; 6: Invocation; 7: Eye of the Hurricane; 8: Pa Oyichan; 9: Imprevisto

Personnel – The Raíces Jazz Orchestra – Brass – Fernando Ferraone: trumpet [7 – 9]; Eddy De Armas: trumpet [1, 2, 5]; Javier Aponza: trumpet [1 – 6]; Anthony Pérez: trumpet [1 – 9]; Peter Francis: trumpet [3, 4, 6]; Kissis Muñóz: trumpet [1 – 9]; José Antonio Arvelo: trumpet [7 – 9]; Jesús Vásquez: trumpet [7 – 9]; Salvador Sáez: trombone [1 – 5, 7 – 9]; Johan Escalante: trombone [1 – 9]; Will Wulfleck: trombone [6]; Marlon Caro: trombone [1 – 6]; Jhosir Córdova: trombone [6 – 9]; José Leonardo León: trombone [1 – 5]; José Ruiz: trombone [7 – 9]; Reeds and Woodwinds – Pablo Gil: tenor saxophone [1 – 9 and flute [3, 5, 6, 8]; Eric Chacón: tenor saxophone [1 – 6] and flute 2 – 6, 8]; Demian Martinez: tenor saxophone [9]; José Heredia: tenor saxophone [7] and baritone saxophone [1 – 6]; Julio Andrade: tenor saxophone [8], alto saxophone [1 – 6] and clarinet [3, 4]; Manny Echazabal: alto saxophone [1 – 9] and clarinet [3, 4]; José Oliveira: alto saxophone [7 – 9]; Oscar Dudamel: baritone saxophone [7 – 9]; Rhythm – Jorge Vera: piano [4]; Leo Blanco: piano [5]; Silvano Monasterios: piano [2]; Livan Mesa: piano [3, 6]; César Orozco: piano [1, 9]; Manuel Gámez: piano [7, 8]; Juan Tabón: piano [8]; Hugo Fuguet: guitar [1 – 3, 6 – 9]; Tito Manrique: guitar [2, 5]; José Luis De La Paz: guitar [4]; Henry Linarez: cuatro [8]; Jorge Glem: cuatro [4]; Rodner Padilla: bass [1 – 5, 7 – 9]; Richard Bona: bass, lead and background vocals [6]; Adolfo Herrera: drums [1, 2, 5, 7 – 9]; Tuti Rodrigues: drums [3]; Marc Quiñones: congas [3, 6], bongos [1, 5, 6] and chorus [3, 5]; Roberto Moreno: congas [4, 5, 7 – 9] and bongos [4]; Bobby Allende: congas [1]; Marcos Mosquera: congas [2]; Flavio Donoso: bongos [2]; Tony Succar: timbales [1, 3 – 7, 9] and cajón [2, 5, 8]; Israel “Piraña” Suárez: cajón [4] and palmas [4]; Bárbaro “Machito” Crespo: batá [6]; Israel “Tito” Barrero Actires: batá [6]; Luis “El Croque” Osain Del Monte: batá [6]; Tuti Rodrigues: Brasilian percussion [3]; Sergio “Checho” Cuadros: quena [5]; José Ernesto Laya: maracas [8]; Esaul Quiros: palmas and lead vocals [4]; José Rapico: palmas [4] and baila [4]; Vocalists and chorus – Anaadi: lead and background vocals [3]; Loli Adadía: lead vocals [4]; Ronald Borjas: chorus [3, 5]; Joseph Palacios: chorus [3, 5]; Marcelo Amaro: chorus [3]; Helinho Meneses: chorus [3]; Bruno Coelho: chorus [3]; Rodrigo Rodrigues: chorus [3]; Max García: chorus [3]; Santiago Díaz: chorus [3]

Released – 2020
Label – Unity Entertainment [UN 100003]
Runtime – 51:48

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

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