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K-Jazz All-Stars y Sus Amigos: Spirit Talk

This floating off-shore jam session finds nice grooves to surf on, with a really fine line-up and probably zero studio (what else is new?) time to pull charts together. The bad news is there are few solos of import as most of the cats just noodle (pianists Chucho Valdez, Edward Simon and trombonist Steve Turre excepted); the good news it that it makes a “spontaneous” Cubano cushion for you to blow your horn or kazoo on or to scat over while doing the dishes. Don’t get the impression that this mimics Jamey Aebersold’s “music-minus-one” concept: these are mostly just rather tasteful modal vamps. Exceptions again include Valdez’s brief, impressive tour de force solo on Sonny Rollins’ “Oleo” and the pianist’s ballad “Claudia.” But the date’s so loose that composers are not credited. Players (with number of tracks) include winds [Dave Valentin (flutes, three), Ralph Bowen (tenor/flute, three), Joe Ford (soprano, six)], four each for the pianists, Turre (two each on ‘bone and shells) and a fluid-drive rhythm team of bassist Charles Fambrough, drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr. and all-round percussionist Marlon Simon. (Dennis Sheppard’s tiny Manhattan-based label in fact features Fambrough, Bowen and Marlon Simon as a core group on its four releases.) While little attention has been afforded packaging, the sound is not bad.

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