This is a remarkable recording-from the standpoints of both artistry and folklore. For this Grammy nominated disc producer Greg Landau assembled a bi-coastal and multi-national cast of players under the leadership of the esteemed conguero Carlos “Patato” Valdes. The leader, whose work is the centrifugal force of this recording, is a player of such shrewdness as to draw analogies to folks like Miles Davis as opposed to his fellow hand drummers. Let’s say the great hard hands conguero Ray Baretto is Elvin Jones to Patato’s Billy Higgins. Patato employs a melodic sensibility on the congas that casts a subtle tone to the proceedings.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.