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Trio Mundo: Rides Again

Following up their strong 2002 debut, Carnaval (Khaeon), Trio Mundo does indeed ride again, on Joachim Becker’s Khaeon-successor label, Zoho. The brainchild of guitarist Dave Stryker, bassist Andy McKee and percussionist Manolo Badrena, Trio Mundo has gained a de facto fourth member in alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Slagle. As before, Stryker does most of the writing, with Badrena a close second-and two of Badrena’s three entries, “Cameroun” and “Pinarena,” are among the most outstanding Latin-jazz melodies in recent memory. Latin jazz isn’t where it stops, though: the group touches on African, Brazilian and Indian reference points before the disc is through.

If Trio Mundo has a frontman, it is Badrena, who peppers the session with excited Spanish and English dialogue (“Don’t stop now, don’t stop now!”), beautiful singing and even some nylon-string guitar. He also plays a fair amount of drum kit, unlike on Carnaval, which foregrounded his djembe, congas and so forth. This gives Rides Again a more conventional timbre in some respects.

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