Que Viva Coltrane
Criss Cross Jazz
By casting the music of John Coltrane into a Latin-jazz context, Conrad Herwig (trombone) and Brian Lynch (trumpet) deserve credit for what they don't do as much as what they accomplish. For starters, there's no "Giant Steps," "Impressions," "My Favorite Things" or "A Love Supreme." Rather than simply blowing the standards con mas ritmo, they play some less popular (relatively speaking) Trane tracks, which fit well into the Latin rhythms.
"Miles Mode," already a jagged run over a 12-tone row, takes on a new life when combined with clave, the asymmetrical rhythmic idea of Afro-Caribbean music. When Herwig and Lynch trade solo lines here, they blend together like one voice. Baritone saxophonist Mario Rivera splits his time between a melodic voice and an extra member of the rhythm section, which includes Edsel Gomez (piano), John Benitez (bass), Robby Ameen (drums) and Richie Flores (congas). When the group tackles the straight blues of "Locomotion" the rhythm section plays it cool, which seems to transfer the intensity to the solos by Rivera, Herwig, Lynch and Gomez. Other highlights include "Countdown," the ballad "Central Park West" and "Straight Street," a tune from Coltrane's first Prestige date.