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June 1997

Conrad Herwig
The Latin Side of John Coltrane
Astor Place Recordings

The infusion of African rhythms from the Caribbean into jazz has accounted for some of the most invigorating trends in the last few years. This new CD from trombonist Conrad Herwig-who works with Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente and Paquito D'Rivera, to name a few-conjures up a spicy red beans and rice mix of John Coltrane and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Joined by an all-star cast including Palmieri, Ronnie Cuber, Danilo Perez, Richie Beirach, John Benitez, Adam Cruz, Andy Gonzalez, Milton Cordona, Dave Valentin and Brian Lynch, Herwig and company beautifully highlight Trane's spirituality on the Santeria-tinged "A Love Supreme (Supremo Amor)," and on the ballads "Naima," and "After The Rain," a pleasing Herwig/Beirach duet.

The beat of the clave and the pointillistic brass voicings drive "Africa," and Palmieri's possessed pianisms dance on "Impressions," and "Blue Train," while the processional pulsations provided by Cordona, Richie Flores and Jose Clausell take "India" and "The Drum Thing" to new levels of intensity and depth. Herwig's adaptation of Trane's "sheets of sound" style to the trombone works well, and this splendid recording reveals how broad Trane's musical world-view was, and how close the music of Cuba is to us.

Originally published in June 1997
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