Noah Bless: New York Strong – Latin Jazz!

There’s uncommon poise and elegance in spades in this incredible debut recording of Noah Bless; incredible because Mr Bless has, for years, brought his gifts to numerous dates with the likes of legendary Afro-Cuban musicians such as Mario Bauzá and Celia Cruz, equally legendary Nuyorican master musicians such as Willie Colón and Eddie Palmieri, and great ensembles, among them Arturo O’Farrill’s Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and Oscar Hernández’s Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Through all this celebrated history Mr Bless remains quietly earthy, voicing his instrument of choice – the trombone – with a poetic lilt that has made him an artist of the first order. He is not only one of the most gifted instrumentalists of his generation, but also an arranger and interpreter of consummate skill. This can be savoured by the superbly produced music, which includes some classic repertoire that is played with technical brilliance and emotional eloquence. Throughout Mr Bless also reveals that he has feel for the art of melodic feeling, tempered by a harmonic and rhythmic genius, all of which he displays in the way he masters changes in mood, colour and tempi.

Mr Bless’ album New York Strong-Latin Jazz! Features beautifully crafted arrangements of beguiling variety and sensuousness, not simply played with, but lovingly caressed in every phrase and melodic variation. His chosen material is, without exception, judiciously chosen – focusing on well-known Brasilian songs form the pens of Baden Powell and Tom Jobim to an old chestnut from James Taylor and one by the great Ray Santos as well.

Listening to the way in which Mr Bless seductively bends the notes in a soaring balladic rendition of “Ligia”; to the elemental wail on “Fire and Rain”; and how he sculpts the long, sustained inventions of “Canto de Ossanha” and on his original, “The Key”, it’s clear that there’s not a single semiquaver that hasn’t been fastidiously considered. Mr Bless’ musical cohort features some of the best-known, prodigiously-gifted musicians – including heavy-weights such as Mike Eckroth, whose genius for composition, performance and inventive interpretation of tradition has earned him the respect and adoration of composers and arrangers from Havana and New York.

The rhythm section includes the inimitable bassist Boris Kozlov and the drummer Pablo Bencid, whose power and musicality jumps out at you, as well as celebrated percussion colourist Luisito Quintero. Flutist Alejandro Avilés makes his enormous presence felt on two tracks. Every one of the musicians is completely attuned to Mr Bless’ artistry and vision and each – in solo and in ensemble – brings something special to this date, captured in the warmth of a truly memorable recording.

L to R: Boris Kozlov, Noah Bless, Luisito Quintero, Pablo Bencid, Mike Eckroth

Track list – 1: Chasing Normal; 2: Ganga; 3: Canto de Ossanha; 4: 49th Street; 5: Ligia; 6: The Key; 7: Fire and Rain; 8: Sunny Day

Personnel Noah Bless: trombone; Mike Eckroth: piano and organ [7]; Boris Kozlov: bass; Pablo Bencid: drums; Luisito Quintero: percussion; Alejandro Avilés: flute [4, 6]

Released – 2020
Label – ZOHO Music [ZM202010]
Runtime – 39:58

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

11,395FansLike
1,607FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,694FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more