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March 2006

Bobby Matos Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble
Acknowledgement
Life Force Records

This CD is an excellent fusion of Latin and African genres, with some of the best bilingual swingers from either world demonstrating how effective the glue of jazz can be. Matos has contributed 10 originals and added three John Coltrane classics: "A Love Supreme," "Tunji" and "Equinox." It's easy to savor some flavor here, from Matos' hypnotic congas and the versatility of Dan Weinstein, who doubles eloquently on trombone, violin and viola, to the tenor work by Frank Fontaine Jr., who boasts his own sound and never tries to phrase like Trane. Other tasty bits include the montuno-filled comping by pianist Theo Saunders and, above all, the MVP-level support from bassist John B. Williams. Listen to his growl on "Supreme": The famous four-note mantra is unyielding in its firmness. Williams' playing on Matos' lovely ballad "Evelyn," with its tricky chromatic changes, is particularly striking, and his intonation is flawless.

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Bobby Matos

Originally published in March 2006
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