Get Out of My Way
This California-based Latin jazz band has acquired a reputation for being efficient and well-oiled. Vibist Ruben Estrada was central to the success of Poncho Sanchez's tribute to Cal Tjader, "Soul Sauce." He evoked the memory of Tjader without resorting to pastiche. Here, his vibes are the honey holding this beehive together. His radiant tone and intelligent phrasing surface at just the right moments. The funky title tune, with its dubious sung chorus, is redeemed everytime Estrada lets fly. He's also heard on trumpet. "Blue Moon" has a charanga middle passage, with Henry Estrada's flute providing Afro-Cuban flavor. Another Afro-Cuban number, the rumba "Mi Guaguanco," features strong percussion from Ruben "Cougar" Estrada, Jr. and Raul Rico, Jr. All of the tunes have solid montuno passages. Pianist Joe Rotondi, Jr., has robust solos on "Nica's Dream" and "Besame Mucho;" tremendous lyricism and rhythmic tension. These guys aren't flashy or wildly intoxicating, but a classy, solid ensemble that deserves an attentive ear.