Review written by: Wilbert Sostre –
Born in Bronx, NY, multi instrumentalist Rick Arroyo began playing piano at the age of 9, drums at age 11, congas, vibraphone at the age of 14 and has worked with some of the best Latin jazz musicians in the US. All that experience shows on his album Mr. P.
The album starts with “Mr. P”, dedicated to master Puerto Rican pianist Eddie Palmieri. The “afinque” on this piece (afinque means playing tight) is reminiscent of the glory days of salsa music. Eddie Palmieri was a big part of the salsa movement back in the seventies. Even the montunos played by Rick Arroyo on this track and throughout the album echoes the sound of Palmieri.
The tempo slows down for the beautiful bolero “Claudia”, the Brazilian sounds of “Across the Miles” and for “Another Monday”, a piece that starts as a bossa nova and quickly changes into Afro Cuban rhythms. Artie Webb on flute has some excellent moments on “Another Monday”, improvising with elegance and emotion.
The band goes back to the Caribbean in the Cuban Son “Feeling the Change”, an interesting arrangement with constant changes in tempo. This time is Rick Arroyo who shines on piano, playing some crisp, melodic breaks.
On the second half of the album, Arroyo and his band add a latin flavor to some jazz classics like “Equinox”, “Blue Bossa”, and “Song for my father”. Especially creative and exciting are the Latin jazz arrangements of Horace Silver “Song for my Father” and the energetic salsa arrangement of Kenny Dorham “Blue Bossa”.
1. Mr. P
2. Another Monday
3. Across the miles
4. Feeling the change
6. Blue Bossa
8. Song for my Father
9. Flight to Jordan
Rick Arroyo – piano, cha cha bell, chekere, Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez – bongos, clave, bongo bell, Artie Webb – flute, Tata Palau, Rob Stone – alto sax, Rob Mader – alto sax, flute, Matt Taylor – tenor sax, Glenn Colby, Dave Perrico, Chris Ecklund – trumpet, Eddie Di Marino, Adrian Garcia, Jiovanni Cofino, Mario Trejo – bass, Mitchito Sanchez – congas, chekere, Alex de Jesus – congas, Pepe Jimenez, Steve Gutierrez – drums, Dwayne Matos – timbal.
Review written by: Wilbert Sostre
Rick Arroyo on the web: www.facebook.com/rick.arroyo