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Caribbean Jazz Project: The Gathering

The latest album by the Caribbean Jazz Project finds the ensemble continuing to blend Latin jazz styles with jazz improvisation, albeit with a slightly altered lineup. The group is still fronted by vibraphonist Dave Samuels and flutist Dave Valentin, but Argentine pianist and onetime member Dario Eskenazi has rejoined the band and adds a distinctive rhythmic element to the cohesive rhythm section comprised of drummer and timbalist Dafnis Prieto, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, conguero Richie Flores and conga player-percussionist Roberto Quintero.

The Gathering is a collection of stylistically diverse compositions performed with no shortage of energy and verve by this tight ensemble. Saxophonist and onetime member Paquito D’Rivera helps ignite “Rendezvous” with his high-spirited soloing, and he and Valentin blow with alacrity throughout the Thelonious Monk classic “Bemsha Swing,” which Samuels reimagines as a high-octane mambo.

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