The Latin Side of Jazz – June 27, 2022

The Latin Side of Jazz is a curated playlist that showcases selected tracks from the best Latin jazz, Cuban, Brasilian, Ibero-American and Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin jazz music. We include well-known, established artists and new artists who are getting attention and global recognition.

On this issue of The Latin Side of Jazz, which we now publish bi-weekly (instead of weekly), we’re providing more information about the artists featured and about their music. We also offer the playlist on both, Spotify and YouTube.

Track 1: “Wapango” – Barcelona Clarinet Players – Tribute to Paquito D’Rivera. From the album Fantasías Barcelónicas (2022)
This new album is comprised of compositions by Paquito D’Rivera and also has him as guest artist. D’Rivera was commissioned by the group to write for clarinet quartet the featured work of the album called Fantasías Barcelónicas. The artists on this album are Paquito D’Rivera: alto saxophone and clarinet. Barcelona Clarinet Players: Manuel Martinez: clarinet; Javier Vilaplana: clarinet; Martí Guasteví: basset horn; Alejandro Castillo: bass clarinet. Released by Paquito Records and Sunnyside Records.

Track 2: “Flor de Lis” – DO’A. From the album Higher Grounds (2022)
This notable debut finds DO’A drawing upon her heritage through combined elements of Albanian folk music, jazz, samba, and Latin American rhythmic traditions. At its core, Higher Grounds is a musical mosaic designed to create an open space for listeners to connect to and experience the purity of emotion. “Flor de Lis” showcases DO’A’s brilliance in creative cultural blends. Working alongside Cuban jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa and his band, DO’A combines the harmonic and melodic sensibilities of Brazilian samba with the Cuban flair of salsa music to create something truly striking.

Track 3: “Mambo 2021” – Spanish Harlem Orchestra. From the album Imágenes Latinas (2022)
Within the vast landscape of Latin music in New York City, few ensembles have had such a magnificent impact as the 3x GRAMMY®-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO). Founded by pianist and composer Oscar Hernández two decades ago, the mission statement of SHO is to honor the tradition of great Latin music, and to continue their work as “the leading light of the salsa reconstruction movement” (Newsday). On Imágenes Latinas, their eighth release, SHO stays true to their purpose.

Track 4: “Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga” – Dave Bass Trio. From the album The Trio, Vol. 2 (2022)
Dave Bass says that Vol.2 elevates everything the Trio did on Vol.1 to a new level. It’s a deeper, more mature effort by the Trio regarding the three things that made Vol.1 a success: the wide spectrum of styles, the vibrant 3-way communication, and the unique arrangements of challenging compositions. On The Trio Vol. 2, they offer up a set of performances that are as tight as if the band had been playing together for decades, while, in truth, they first came together just over three years ago.

Track 5: “Caminando Por Cangrejo” – Hermanos Cepeda. From the album Mandingo Bomba Jazz (2019)
The national folk group Hermanos Cepeda and the Puerto Rican Bomba in an ancestral offering of Caribbean fusion; from the legacy of the Congo slaves, in a caravan along the route of the Mandingo Kingdom of Africa on a round trip through their roots and communities to the present. Recorded live at the Theater of the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, 2009. Bomba with Jazz and Jazz with Bomba, in a unique result that amalgamates and harmonizes its genres and its melodies, melting, forging and enriching its temper, as an artistic work of experimental convergence, in this jewel of high sonorous filigree.

Track 6: “What’s Up” – Andrea Brachfeld & Insight. From the album Evolution (2022)
The music mixes spiritual ancestral sound waves with the cohesive sonic jazz vibe of her skilled band Insight —a rhythmic holdover from 2018’s If Not Now When? and reliable beat buddies over several recordings now. Bill O’Connell on piano, veteran bassist Harvie S, and drummer Jason Tiemann connect interchangeably within a vortex of musical commonality and perception. Except for Qingauiit, The Hut Song and Ko Ribon, Evolution features original numbers showcasing the nexus between co-conspirator O’Connell who conjures up the harmonies to Andrea’s melodies before releasing the fused magic. In this, her tenth recording as a leader and her second for the Origin label, Andrea lays bare her artistic soul.

Track 7: “Fusión/Noche Cubana” – Bill Ortiz. From the album Points of View (2022)
This release by trumpet player Bill Ortiz is his 4th as a leader. The first since his 16 year run as a featured member of the Santana Band. This project represents songs written by Wayne Shorter, Harold Mabern, Jaco Pastorius, Lonnie Liston Smith and Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson. Ortiz has enlisted some of the music world’s top musicians who he’s worked with during his long diverse career. The music on Points Of View is an energetic and rhythmically rich journey, creating a passionate, provocative and flavorful experience that reflects Ortiz’s unique and storied career.

Track 8: “De Que Callada Manera” – Cristina Morrison. From the album Impredecible – Voces de Mujer (2019)
This magical disc heralds a profound performance which is also highly illuminating. The starting point is a highly successful attempt to create vocal duets with five of the finest women vocalists of her generation. The performances by Miss Morrison aided by her duet partners are highly poignant; a touchstone to Miss Morrison’s burgeoning legacy as a vocalist; quite apart from her contribution to stage and film. Miss Morrison reveals herself to be an artist of the first order broadening out from Ecuadorian folkloric and Jazz vocalastics into a world of Latin Jazz and Brasilian music for which she will be forever heralded as a musician of great distinction.

Track 9: “Papa Boco” – Yasser Tejeda. From the album Kijombo (2019)
Yasser Tejeda, a young Dominican composer and guitarist who, with a group that includes the virtuoso (traditional) drummer Jonathan Troncoso, has created a musical flash-point where the sacred and the secular meet. That place (or gathering), we are told is quijombo. “It is”, he says “a place where palos drums are played… where the mystical and the musical intersect. Where family and friends come to drink rum and dance and sing in cultural resistance. It’s a place that is little discussed in the Dominican Republic, but always there.” Kijombo is a three-quarter-of-an-hour-long ecstatic journey that, nevertheless, evokes the spirit of Africanised worship melded in with a volcanic mix of the profane.

Track 10: “Nutville” – Conrad Herwig. From the album The Latin Side of Horace Silver (2020)
In 1996 trombonist Conrad Herwig unveiled the first instalment in the popular “Latin Side of” series with the Grammy-nominated The Latin Side of John Coltrane. For this release, Herwig has assembled an all-star band of his favourite colleagues including tenor sax great Igor Butman along with special guest, the Grammy-winning Dominican pianist, Michel Camilo. “The great thing about jazz is that nothing is so sacred that it can’t be recomposed and reinvented and rediscovered,” said Herwig, who goes on to prove it by refracting the music of the legendary Horace Silver through his own love of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Track 11: “Gemini Man” – Duduka Da Fonseca & Helio Alves feat. Maucha Adnet. From the album Samba Jazz & Tom Jobim (2019)
Thanks in large part to the inimitable drummer Duduka Da Fonseca and Family Adnet, the music of the great Brasilian maestro, Tom Jobim, remains top-of-mind and is not relegated to becoming a kind of saveur du jour, something that the music of composers no longer with us is often left to become. It does, of course, help that Mr Da Fonseca is married to the vocalist of immense allure, Maucha Adnet, who performed for a decade with Mr Jobim’s last prodigious ensemble, Banda Nova. But there is something more and quite extraordinary that the drummer is doing about [and with] Mr Jobim’s music and that is to bring to light rarely heard gems together with rendering them in a manner that is wholly new and set in a completely new soundscape, yet evocative of the majesty of Mr Jobim’s Bossa Nova own idiom.

Track 12: “Seven Steps to Heaven” – Calle Loíza Jazz Project. From the album There Will Never Be Another You (2019)
The music on There Will Never Be Another You by the Calle Loíza Jazz Project begins with the thunderous report of the barriles – subidor (primo) and buleador (segundo) – announcing a breathtaking version of the British pianist and vibraphone player Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps to Heaven” (often also dubiously attributed to Miles Davis, who was actually a co-author. This version of “Seven Steps to Heaven” is a superb version; a “souped-up”, Latinised version from Miles Davis’ 1963 recording Seven Steps to Heaven full of vim and verve and visceral energy that characterises this elegantly-crafted recording.

Track 13: “Just Do It” – Joaquin Sosa. From the album Caminando (2019)
Joaquin Sosa is an award-winning Cuban jazz musician who plays clarinet, tenor saxophone and flugelhorn. As a young clarinetist Joaquin participated in the Cuban National Woodwind Competition, where he won 1st place and 3rd place in the International Competition JOJAZZ whilst being the youngest participant. Joaquin graduated from the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in classical clarinet with distinction, however he was always passionate about jazz and that’s the path he is currently pursuing. In 2019 Joaquin recorded his first jazz album Caminando, which showcases his original compositions. He’s currently living in Europe (Poland).

Curated Playlist – The Latin Side of Jazz – June 27 2022

Featured photo: Barcelona Clarinet Players & Paquito D’Rivera. From their album cover, Fantasías Barcelónicas.

Danilo Navas
Danilo Navas
Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, Toronto Music Report. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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