January/February 1997

Various Artists
Tropijazz All Stars: Vol. 1
RMM

this is the first of a projected two volume release recorded before a live audience at Manhattan Center Studios. The Tropijazz All Stars include Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Juan Pablo Torres, Hilton Ruiz, Dave Valentin, Humberto Ramirez, Charlie Sepulveda, and Giovanni Hidalgo. "Rumba de Cajon" has extraordinary solos by trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, whose jabbing, melodic, fat tone makes other 'bone players sound whispery, pianist Hilton Ruiz, and special guest David Sanchez. This number alone makes this an indispensable release. A stinging arrangement of "Everyday I Have the Blues" features the strong vocals of newcomer Jillian. Puente and fellow percussionists Johnny Almendra, Richie Flores,

Giovanni Hidalgo, and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez jam on "Five Beat Mambo." Eddie Palmieri opens his "Suite 925-2828" with an impassioned, protracted, solo. After a short break, Palmieri's swelling piano ushers in the horns, playing tight, economical lines, chasing and prodding one another, before coming together, a la Mingus, in an orgy of sound. Sensational! Bring on volume two! - Marcela Breton

Originally published in January/February 1997
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