To be correct from the start, this recording by Mitch Frohman and his Latin Jazz Quartet, From Daddy With Love was released almost three years ago. But it still merits attention for the simple reason that the two-disc set is very possibly Frohman’s finest studio performance to date. It is a hard choice to make simply because Mitch Frohman is a consistently brilliant performer – live or in the studio. However, there is so much music to choose from on these two discs that it is almost embarrassing. And Frohman – who played with Tito Puente for years, as well as with Mongo Santamaria, to name two of the greatest Latin musicians – leads what is surely his best small band yet. To have the Curtis brothers, Luques and Zaccai, and Joel Mateo on drums and percussion for two sessions plus a host of stellar musicians, including violinist Ali Bello and trombonists Sam Burtis and Dave Chamberlain all in the same project is to have New York’s finest.
Mitch Frohman is one of those rare woodwind players who plays virtually all of the saxophones (with the exception here of the alto saxophone) absolutely flawlessly. Many saxophonists specialise in one instrument and playing another occasionally but not Frohman. He seems to specialise in every instrument he plays with each one being given a special something to create a personal vocabulary and language. His tenor playing is bold, on baritone he sounds monumental and his soprano sounds delicate and sensuous. Add to that he also plays magnificently on flute as well and shows off his chops on ‘Más Flauta’.
This album is also one of the most ebullient that I have heard in a long time. The cha cha cha pieces ‘Cha Cha with the Bronx Horn’ and ‘4B Cha Cha’ are exciting, big and bouncy. Listeners would be hard-pressed to sit down and let these two charts fly by, without being swept off their feet in an instant. The mambo and rumba pieces are viscerally exciting. And the performance closes with one a lush bolero version of ‘From Daddy with Love’, this after disc one is brought home with a buttery vocal version sung by Jorge Maldonado. In between there is music to die for. In a dramatic turn of events disc one features Frohman’s daughter, Denice on spoken word. Ms Frohman, we are told was 2013 Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion. It is not hard to see why. Denice Frohman’s performance is quite brilliant. She tempers biting sardonicism with wonderful wit and gentility. Her phrasing is breathtaking and diction clear, so that you don’t need the printed word to follow her memorable recitation.
I would be remiss if I did not make special mention of the Curtis brothers. These two talented musicians – bassist and pianist – have also turned out to be fine entrepreneurs and they have held fast to the idea that they can run a label that is decidedly different from most of the large labels that are putting out Latin-Jazz. In fact, as the name suggests, the label promises to usher in a revolution in the (Latin-Jazz) ‘industry’. They have certainly proved this by putting out some fine music throughout the life of the label so far and this does not seem like things will change. This might be something the entire ‘music industry’ can learn from. After all when you let the artist control the creative content great things happen. From Daddy With Love is a prime example of this.
Track List: Disc One: Mambo de Nice; Cha Cha with the Bronx Horn (Truth/Revolution Cha Cha); Sex & The City; Accents con Ritmo; El Rumbón del Baritón; Mas Flauta; From Daddy with Love (vocal version); Disc Two: Mongo’s Groove; The Girl from Java; Mambo sin Fronteras; Soprano con soul; 4B Cha Cha (Bari, Bass, Bongo & the Bell); From Daddy with Love (instrumental version).
Personnel: Mitch Frohman: baritone, tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Zaccai Curtis: piano; Luques Curtis: acoustic bass; Joel Mateo: drums (miscellaneous percussion on ‘Soprano con Soul’); John ‘Dandy’ Rodriguez: congas, bongos, bell, guiro; Jorge Maldonado: vocal (on ‘From Daddy with Love’); Denice Frohman: spoken word (on ‘Accents con Ritmo’); Coro (on ‘Cha Cha with the Bronx Horn’): Jorge Maldonado, Marco Bermudez, Gerardo Madera; Additional musicians (on ‘From Daddy with Love’ (vocal version): violins: Ali Bello, Maria Im, Machiko Ozawa, Matt Aprea; cello: Rubin Kodheli; acoustic guitar: Rafael Rosa; trombones: Sam Burtis, Tokunori Kajiwara, Joe Beaty, Dave Chamberlain.
Label: TRR (Truth Revolution Records)
Release date: September 2013
Running time: Disc One: 41:18 Disc Two: 41:43
Buy album on: amazon
Video courtesy Congahead