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Mike Arroyo: My Jazzy Mood

Mike Arroyo is a true independent spirit, a Christian jazz guitarist from Puerto Rico who has built a following through frequent performances and by sponsoring occasional “Christian jazz nights” on the island. One of those performances is available on DVD on his Web site.

Arroyo’s debut CD, recorded in 2003, only recently became available on a wide basis. His light and bubbly electric guitar style mixes with a touch of blues and side trips into tropical Latin rhythms. Typical is the easy style of “Florecitas,” a gently loping tune spiced by Christos Rafalidez’s vibes. The song returns with a better interpretation as the CD’s only vocal with Milly Laracuent’s heavenly pipes. Arroyo lays down a ton of notes, often leaving his tunes struggling to gain breath, but there’s no denying his sharpness on the axe. Most interesting is “Perfect Mood,” where Arroyo explores guitar, bass and sax ideas over a robust melody.

A minor quibble that can be written off a quirk of a truly independent CD, but is sloppy nonetheless, is the lost-in-translation title of one of Simon and Garfunkel’s biggest hits. Here it shall forever be known as “Bride Over Trouble Water.” Jeez, where’s a copy editor when you need one?

Originally Published