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Michel Camilo: Live at the Blue Note

Two CDs of Michel Camilo’s astounding piano technique can almost be too much of a good thing. Recorded over four nights in March of this year with his trio, the 18 performances pull out all the stops, with rhythms and counter rhythms dancing over one another, occasionally putting the downbeat in a state of suspended animation. Just when things start to sound too busy, however, Camilo and company shift gears, bringing the groove back down to earth or changing the pace with a ballad. (“Silent Talk” being one of the best of the slow numbers due to the pianist’s gorgeously flowing lines.)

This recording marks the first time Camilo-a native of the Dominican Republic-has recorded with an all-Cuban rhythm section. His drummer of eight years, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, should almost receive co-billing for the drive he brings to the set, along with bassist Charles Flores, who joined the band four months prior to the live set.

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