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Hilario Duran: Francisco’s Song

Cuban pianist Hilario Duran was a dynamic presence on Jane Bunnett’s “Spirits of Havana,” particularly on the tune “Yo Siempre Oddara.” Bunnett returns the favor here, playing alto sax and flute on five of thirteen selections. The other principals are Alain Caron, bass, and Sonny Greenwich, guitar. Duran plays solo piano on “Suavecito,” “Medley Matamoros,” “Conqueta Conquin,” and “Lush Life.” Two numbers, “Francisco’s Song,” and “Hot House” employ the full quartet. The remaining tunes offer various configurations of piano, guitar, and bass. Duran composed seven tunes, including “For Emiliano,” his tribute to the late Cuban pianist Emiliano Salvador. The standards are the aforementioned “Hot House,” “Lush Life,” and “Giant Steps.” His reading of “Lush Life” is Tatumesque, full of trills and runs. Duran’s playing draws on his native Cuban traditions and has a strong classical component. He has a liquid tone and his virtuosity gets full play on these exploratory,ruminative selections.

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