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November 2002

Trio Mundo
Carnaval
Khaeon

Any time Manolo Badrena applies hands to drums and mind to music some kind of magic is bound to occur, as it did in Weather Report and continues to do in the Zawinul Syndicate. Badrena's touch is the sweet secret weapon, too, throughout Trio Mundo's Carnaval (Khaeon). Badrena's drum and percussion tracks keep up a porous and impelling groove, without overstatement. He occasionally sings and plays a sweet acoustic-guitar part, as on his proudly Brazilian tunes "Dale Calor" and "Raveena." The underrated guitarist Dave Stryker, who writes most of the tunes here and plays with his usual taste, mines a lot of the same Rio-minded turf that Pat Metheny does in his gentler moments, and acoustic bassist Andy McKee keeps the proceedings on a solid grounding. Guest Steve Slagle also fits nicely into the easy-going groove, on sax, flute and Indian wood flute. A spare and unruffled outing that travels lightly and packs a punch, this world-jazz album also considers Indian references, as on the clearly McLaughlinesque closer "Raga." Mostly, though, the band keeps tilting unabashedly toward the musical Mecca of Brazil, and who's to complain?

Originally published in November 2002
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