For the many lovers of music, who often tend to forget about the treasures we have among us, here’s a timely reminder from one of them: Bobby Carcassés, who sends his reminder in the form of a 2017 recording – Blues Con Montuno. While the title might give the game away – well, sort of anyway – the music still harbours many secret twists and turns that you can always count on this prodigious musician to spring upon us. This he does right from the get-go; from “Blues Con Montuno”.
But if you think this kind of final up-tempo section of a son, with its semi-improvisation, repetitive vocal refrain and brash instrumental climax built into this song is all you’re getting, perish the thought Bobby Carcassés is not one to let an opportunity to ring in changes with something both theatrical and meaningful even if it comes from the extreme left-field. His vocal style that mixes extraordinary lyricism with a prankster’s sense of scatting is clearly an indication that the trumpeter, like the legendary Clark Terry, can really shake things up.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Blues Con Montuno
Like Arsenio Rodriguez who revolutionised montuno son before him, Bobby Carcassés incorporates the idea of layered guajeos. Typical of this is the manner in which Bobby Carcassés develops the ostinato melodies in “Cubana & Sensual” and later, most appropriately in Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” where he can be heard using dramatic interlocking structures, consisting of multiple contrapuntal parts. This aspect of the son’s modernisation is often thought of as a further “re-Africanizing” the music and has become an inextricable part of Bobby Carcassés’ creativity.
Roberto Carcassés Colón, the master’s son and musical director in his band has caught on magnificently to the extent that he is able to almost finish Bobby Carcassés’ (vocal) phrases – in terms of his pianism on “Night in Tunisia” which ripples out onto the rest of the group in a wonderful display of orchestral re-harmonisation. Long before we get that far into the album, however, is the most stunning example of this in Walter Gross and Jack Lawrence’s “Tenderly”.
While this is Bobby Carcassés’ vehicle, the spotlight is generously shone on a few other venerable figures as well. Don Pancho Terry’s star turns on chekere, on “Caravana”, “Obsesión” and finally on “Rumbibop” are priceless. Jorge Reyes sparkles on “Blues Con Montuno” and “Tenderly” as does Jorge Luís Valdés Chicoy, who joins him on the former song. But make no mistake, while these three musicians may be well-known names, the rest of the younger cast is just as stellar and each of them adds his own special brand of glitter to this gem of an album from Bobby Carcassés.
Track list – 1: Blues con Montuno; 2: La noche de ayer; 3: Caravana; 4: Tenderly; 5: Cubana & Sensual; 6: Paisaje de nubes; 7: Obsesión; 8: Night in Tunisia; 9: Rumbibop; 10: Son de la Loma
Personnel – Bobby Carcassés: voice, arrangements, chorus, recorder; Roberto Carcassés Colón: piano, keyboards, chorus, solos, production and musical direction; Oliver Valdés: drums (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, solos 3 & 8); Enrique Plá: drums (solo, 4); Tailín Marrero: electric bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9); Jorge Reyes: contrabass (1, 4); Marí Páz Fernandez: percussion (1, 2,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9); Dayron Rodríguez: percussion (3); Boris Castellano: guiro (1, 2, 5, 8); Pancho Terry: chekere (3, 7, 9); Jesús Ricardo Anduz: first trumpet (1, 3); Julio Padrón: first trumpet (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9); Alejendro Delgado: flugelhorn (1, 3), second trumpet (2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9); Yoandy Argudin: trombone (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9); Heikel Fabián: trombone (4, 5); Yuniet Lombida: soprano saxophone (6), tenor saxophone (1, 3, 4, 5, 7), baritone saxophone (1, 3, 5, 7); César Filiú: alto and tenor saxophones (1, 3, 5, 7, 9); Jorge Luís Valdés Chicoy: electric guitar (1); Roger Glenn: flute (1); Aurobindo Carcassés: rap (2); Francis del Rio: voice (3); César López: alto saxophone (3); Didac Ruiz: African harp (4); Yasek Manzano: flugelhorn solos (4, 6); Tanmy López: violin and voice (5); Orlando Valle “Maraca”: flute (6, 7), chorus (3, 6); Cecilian Colón: voice (7); Jamil Schery: tenor saxophone (9); Erick Jon: chorus (1, 2, 4, 5, 9); Adalberto “Berty” Hernández: recording, mixing and mastering engineer; Julio César Vilarrubia Acosta: assistant recording engineer; Yamibel Tillán & Maykel González: production assistants
Released – 2017
Label – BIS Music
Runtime – 50:19