Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Steven Kroon: El Mas Alla (Beyond)

Talented and versatile percussionist Steven Kroon has been on scores of records as far back as the early ’70s, but despite his roots and training, surprisingly little of that work was in Latin jazz and only two previous titles had come out under his own name. Even then, his first solo release, 2000’s In My Path, leaned more toward the smoother stylings of past employers like Luther Vandross (with whom he worked for two decades) or Jon Lucien than any of the jazz heavyweights in his credits. By his second, Señor Kroon, he found his Latin-jazz sea legs, and now, as they say, third time’s a charm.

As the title suggests, Kroon here honors Latin-jazz giants who have gone on, a numbingly sad list that includes Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Patato, Don Alias, Ray Barretto and Kroon’s own early teachers. The album opens with the soaring “Bo Bo’s Blues” and never lets up from there, with a sparkling cha-cha, “Precious One”; two Brazilian numbers, George Duke’s “Brazilian Sugar” and bossa pioneer João Donato’s early classic, “Minha Saudade”; Jaco Pastorius’ edgy “Used to Be a Cha Cha”; a salute to the “mambo kings” in “Steppin” and the fiery “Don Ramon.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published