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Papo Vazquez: At the Point Vol. 2

The rally of trombonist Papo Vazquez and drummer Pheonix Rivera sets the leader’s “The Reverend” off screaming. The tune has such a sense of exuberance that, quite surprisingly, it almost suggests how the Dirty Dozen Brass Band might sound if it went south of the border. That’s only the beginning of the story of this killer track on which the caliphony of sound and hot progressive blowing is given its Latin tinge by the assault of Richie Flores’ congas. When Vazquez and saxophonist Michael Brecker go head-to-head atop the urgent piano of Arturo O’Farrill the tune simply flies. The tempo changes to a more traditional cha cha and the mood becomes more subdued on “Juan Jose” with Dave Valentin stepping in on flute. He and Vazquez end the tune with a lovely exchange. Another quiet moment on the album that offers an opportunity to drink in the delicious tonal qualities of Vazquez’s trombone is the ballad “In This Lonely Place.” There’s an edge to Vazquez’s approach that conveys the out-of-balance emotions of the tune. Raymond Diaz’s tambora adds yet another rhythmic texture to “Dominicanta,” a groove kind of tune with Willie Williams coming in on sax and O’Farrill digging in with some syncopated piano. “Paper Moon” gets a good dusting off with a funky treatment and is buffed up with some solid swinging. Everything just plain works on At the Point Vol. 2.

Originally Published