Black Bean Blues
The fourth release by Mexican born Victor Mendoza, an acclaimed vibist and Berklee College faculty member, is proficient and polished if somewhat short on emotion or excitement. I didn't much like the heads of these tunes. Eight of nine numbers are composed by Mendoza, with the one standard being "The Way You Look Tonight." Mendoza interprets it as a mambo and gives it a faster treatment than any of the other tunes. The opener, "Chapina Chapin," has brisk, funky lines and an agreeable montuno segment, led by pianist Alain Mallet. Saxophonist Jim Odgren and electric bassist Fernando Huergo are part of the lineup. There are three percussionists. Anybody who enjoyed Mendoza's earlier outings will probably want to check out Black Bean Blues.