The exciting part of being a music fan is that there are always new players and new combinations of players to experience. Because not only is every performance something different, but there are combinations of players that can create surprises as well.
This was perfectly demonstrated at Yoshi's on a cool night, January 17th. As pointed out by Andrea Daniel in the Detroit Free Press, the group was formed by Jason Franklin, a producer who lives in Atlanta more than ten years ago, The first show was in 2001 at the Washington DC Club, Blues Alley and featured Steve Turre (trombone and seashells), Ray Vega (trumpet), Arturo O'Farrill (piano), John Benitez (bass), Mario Rivera (tenor sax). The current group freatures Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres on flute, Steve Berrios on drums, Grammy-nominated Chembo Corniel as well as Turre and O'Farrill.
Latin jazz flute, has always been one of the most exciting and magical elements of this music. How does this lovely and delicate instrument rise above a roaring band? Nestor Torres has solved this problem with his amplified and soaring sound. In fact, in the first section of the show, he was the dominant player. Playing both jazz standards and his own original composition, Torres took over the show with a power and grace that was a revelation. Turre then entered with his own sensational style. Two special guests were brought on stage, trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez, and flautist Roger Glenn. The whole band took off, each player demonstrating a wonderful facility in a music the begs dancing.
Once again Yoshi's demonstrated why every Bay Area jazz fan hopes for more of these kind of shows. It is great to hear the major performers of this music, as players like these are the heart and soul of the music. As last year’s SFJazz series proved, Latin jazz musicians are at the very top of the jazz pantheon now. The shows by these players are consistently entertaining, and the music is infectious. Let’s hope this is the start of many more shows like this to come.
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Tony Adamo/ reviewed by @CriticalJazz/Miles of Blu