October 2000

Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana
Ritmo + Soul
Blue Note Records

One of the more fecund tributaries of the swelling Latin-jazz river is the one fished by Canadian saxophonist-flutist Jane Bunnett and her partner, trumpeter-flugelhornist Larry Cramer, for over a decade. They've collaborated with some of Cuba's most vibrant musicians, ranging from the late, great vocalist Mercedita Valdes and the superb pianist Hilario Duran to percussionists Pancho Quinto, Dafnis Prieto and Lucumi.
This latest chapter continues their immersion and veers off into some soulful African-American territories, courtesy of Dean Bowman's righteous baritone voice. "Three Voices, One Spirit" beautifully fuses the spirits of ritmo, soul and jazz. Elsewhere among several other prominent tracks is a gorgeous arrangement of the enduring Cuban lullaby "Drume Negrita," which never gets old nor does it ever fail to warm the blood. One of the beauties of this ongoing Bunnett/Cramer investigation is how they submerge themselves in Cuban culture; they are far from colonialists.

Originally published in October 2000
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