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Various Artists: Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2: Hoy y Ayer–A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin jazz

Even those familiar with names such as Cal Tjader, Clare Fischer, Francisco Aguabella or John Santos often have a sketchy idea about the history and present of the West Coast Latin scene. Here is an all-in-one refresher course and teaser. Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2 is a two-CD compilation that follows up what was … Read More “Various Artists: Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2: Hoy y Ayer–A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin jazz”

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Tito Puente: Quatro: The Definitive Collection

By the time of his death on June 1, 2000, at age 77, Ernesto Antonio “Tito” Puente Jr. was an iconic figure in American culture. But showmanship and celebrity might have obscured the fact that, like Armstrong and Dizzy, Puente was the transcendent artist disguised as entertainer. Quatro: The Definitive Collection, impeccably packaged as a … Read More “Tito Puente: Quatro: The Definitive Collection”

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Omar Sosa: Eggũn: The Afri-Lectric Experience

Originally a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009, Eggũn: The Afri-Lectric Experience is Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Omar Sosa’s take on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue on the 50th anniversary of that landmark recording. The Davis album occupies such a place in the imagination of jazz audiences that the assignment, while ripe … Read More “Omar Sosa: Eggũn: The Afri-Lectric Experience”

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Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music

The extraordinary career of Argentine-born pianist, composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin, 80, brings to mind the story of the blind men and the elephant. For many jazz fans Schifrin is the pianist of Dizzy Gillespie’s quintet from 1960 to 1962. Discovered in Buenos Aires, he moved to New York in 1958, and while he remained … Read More “Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music”

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Manu Katché: Manu Katché

Few attitudes speak to a person’s intelligence more clearly than his or her awareness of their own limitations. Even a cursory listen to French-African drummer and composer Manu Katché’s work-be it his three previous albums as a leader or, say, his playing with Peter Gabriel-suggests a smart approach to sound and music making. A quote … Read More “Manu Katché: Manu Katché”

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band: The 50th Anniversary Collection

In simultaneously looking back and forward, these two releases by the Preservation Hall band, in celebration of the Hall’s 50th anniversary, are a reminder that while individuals and styles pass and change, it’s the spirit of the music that lives on-and what a joyful spirit it is. “We thought we should release these two projects … Read More “Preservation Hall Jazz Band: The 50th Anniversary Collection”

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Multiverse: Bobby Sanabria Big Band

Boldly ambitious and muscular but also smart, knowledgeable and mindful of the traditions at play, Multiverse might be drummer, composer, arranger and educator Bobby Sanabria’s finest work to date. It suggests a summation of many years of living and playing right at the crossroads where jazz and Afro-Latin traditions have met, clashed, borrowed from each … Read More “Multiverse: Bobby Sanabria Big Band”

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Gustavo Casenave: Tango Casenave

Approaching traditional tango with a sensibility informed by jazz and European classical music, Uruguayan pianist and composer Gustavo Casenave creates an intriguing paradox: His Tango Casenave sounds at once retro and modern. A veteran of many high-profile tango shows, he clearly knows the conventions and the clichés and plays them beautifully with a wink, turning … Read More “Gustavo Casenave: Tango Casenave”

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Gonzalo Rubalcaba: XXI Century

On the ambitious two-CD XXI Century, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba continues to develop the ideas of modernity and fusion hinted at on previous recordings, with greater depth and breadth. Smartly accompanied by his trio of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Marcus Gilmore, and augmented on certain tracks by guests, Rubalcaba moves with ease between styles … Read More “Gonzalo Rubalcaba: XXI Century”

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Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto: Current

Seattle-based Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Jovino Santos Neto follows last year’s Veja O Som (See the Sound), a two-CD set of duet collaborations, with Current, a disc of originals featuring his American quintet. Elegantly arranged and performed, the music on Current touches on several Brazilian styles, including samba, baiao and choro. But, as perhaps might … Read More “Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto: Current”

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Jerry González Y El Comando De La Clave : Jerry González Y El Comando De La Clave

After settling in Madrid in 2000, in part as the result of his involvement in Spanish director and producer Fernando Trueba’s film Calle 54, Nuyorican trumpeter and conguero Jerry González became a hub of flamenco-jazz activity. Jerry González Y El Comando De La Clave marks González’s debut on record with his Madrid-based quartet: Javier “Caramelo” … Read More “Jerry González Y El Comando De La Clave : Jerry González Y El Comando De La Clave”

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Sammy Figeroa & His Latin Jazz Explosion: Urban Nature

The compliment might make a manager cringe, but Urban Nature never sounds like someone’s vehicle. This is percussionist Sammy Figueroa’s third album as a leader, but here the ensemble playing, and the music, is the story. And a great story it is. A first-call sideman for artists as diverse as Sonny Rollins (his current employer), … Read More “Sammy Figeroa & His Latin Jazz Explosion: Urban Nature”

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John Santos y El Coro Folklórico Kindembo: La Esperanza

In a career that already spans nearly 40 years, Bay Area percussionist John Santos has played many roles, including performer, bandleader, composer, producer and teacher. La Esperanza, with his Coro Folklórico Kindembo, has a celebratory, communal feel, addressing the roots, both religious and secular, of several Afro-Caribbean music styles. The fourth release by El Coro … Read More “John Santos y El Coro Folklórico Kindembo: La Esperanza”

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The John Santos Sextet: Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1

In a career that already spans nearly 40 years, Bay Area percussionist John Santos has played many roles, including performer, bandleader, composer, producer and teacher. The elegant Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1 offers a glimpse into an ambitious multi-disciplinary performance project about the relationship between the African-American and Afro-Latin cultures. Playing them off each other naturally … Read More “The John Santos Sextet: Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1”

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