Los Más Valientes Live! At Makor

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A 10th Anniversary Celebration

Recorded at a live concert performance at Makor (a renowned midtown club in New York City), this is Los Más Valientes’ fourth recording, which is a compilation of their three previous studio recordings, plus three new unrecorded tracks.

Even though this new production was recorded back in December 2005, it is still fresh and exciting. It hasn’t lost the original spirit and lively kick throughout these years. Whatever the reason for the delay in releasing it, the waiting was worthwhile. It was a terrific concert where the band sounds very tight and in tune, delivering at the best of their abilities. Kudos to Steve Siegel for a great job with the live sound engineering, and to David Merrill for the final mixing and engineering.

Los Mas Valientes - Live at Makor - 10th Anniv
Los Mas Valientes Live! at Makor

This is one of those CDs the listener fully enjoys, non-stop, from beginning to end. The variety of rhythms and the execution is outstanding. Rumba, guagancó, charanga, mambo, guaracha, bossa nova, son montuno, timba, songo, and even Dominican bachata and Yiddish music (in a sophisticated way) get thrown in the mix. Los Más Valientes take all these rhythms and combine them in a delightful concoction,  producing a signature Latin jazz sound that keeps you on your toes the whole concert.

Among my favorites tracks: the introductory killer “Se Formó el Rumbón,” a composition that fuses rumba, guaguancó, charanga and guaracha. “Spain” (from Chick Corea), in a hip guaguancó arrangement. “Mambo Out,” a superb performance that I see as a beautiful tribute from Los Más Valientes to Maestro Tito Puente. It’s a true celebration to the best mambo tradition. “Simon Says Jump,” a song you can’t stop listening to again and again. It’s full of energy and infectious rhythm.  “Songo Valiente” is a fitting closing song to the concert, constructed with complex Caribbean polyrhythms.

Jessica Valiente

Flutist and musical director Jessica Valiente, whose heritage includes Dominican, Peruvian, African-American and Native American roots, hails from New York. For those who don’t know her, I quote an excerpt from her website: “ Jessica Valiente is a conservatory-trained classical musician who began to expand into jazz improvisation and studies of traditional musics from all over the world about 10 years into her classical performance career.  Her musical interests reflect her family’s mosaic heritage, including African American traditional and popular styles, music of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and indigenous music of both North and South America.  She specializes in Afro-Cuban and other Latin styles, Brazilian choro, straight-ahead jazz and performs on traditional Native American style courtship flutes and the Andean quena as a soloist.” (Read full bio)

Los Mas Valientes

Personnel: Formed in 1995 by Jessica Valiente, Anna Milat-Meyer and Yasuyo Kimura, Los Más Valientes is currently integrated by 8 seasoned, extremely talented musicians. The lineup includes Jessica Valiente: flute and musical director; Debra Kreisberg: alto saxophone and clarinet; Rick Faulkner: trombone; Chiemi Nakai: piano; Anna Milat-Meyer: bass; Yasuyo Kimura: congas; Victor Rendón: timbales, drum set, and Willie Serrano Rivera: bongo, guiro, cowbell, shakers.

Tracks: 1. Se Formó el Rumbón; 2. I Don’t Think So; 3. Latin Hips; 4. Spain; 5. Pa’Cachao; 6. Mambo Out; 7. Simon Says Jump; 8. Timba-son; 9. The Dominican Girl in the Kosher Aisle; 10. Songo Valiente.

Los Mas Valientes on the Web: losmasvalientes.com

Label: Laughing Buddha Productions | Release date: March 2013

Reviewed by: Danilo Navas