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Omara Portuondo/Chucho Valdes: Desafios

The famed Cuban vocalist Omara Portuondo, who has been singing since the ’40s, and most recently touring with Buena Vista Social Club, collaborates with the equally illustrious pianist Chucho Valdes on thirteen songs of heartbreak. The lyrics to these boleros about “love and its thorns” are vitally important, and listeners not fluent in Spanish may … Read More “Omara Portuondo/Chucho Valdes: Desafios”

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Patrice Williamson: My Shining Hour

Memphis-born Williamson gets solid support on her debut release from a lineup that features pianist Helen Sung, bassist Christian Bausch, drummer Ron Savage, and, on seven of twelve numbers, trumpeter Phil Grenadier. Along with the title cut, which serves as parentheses for the other tunes, Williamson sings “Love Is Here to Stay,” “Blue Skies,” “Wail,” … Read More “Patrice Williamson: My Shining Hour”

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UZ22: Renascimento

UZ22 hails from Milton Nascimento’s home state of Minas Gerais and oddly enough, given Nascimento’s timeless writing, felt that his music needed to be “modernized” for younger listeners. I suppose the mini moog, heard on the tunes “Tarde,” “Clube da Esquina,” “Cais,” and “Leila,” the rap segments on “A Sede do Peixe” and the brief … Read More “UZ22: Renascimento”

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Bobby Matos: Sessions

This compilation of 12 tunes, covering a fourteen year period, serves as an excellent introduction to the work of percussionist/bandleader Bobby Matos, who describes his approach as having a strong “Afro-Cuban rhythmic sensibility and…a Jazz Messengers horn approach.” “God of the Crossroads” features a wonderful piano solo by Victor Cegarra. Mike Turre is on soprano … Read More “Bobby Matos: Sessions”

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Hugo Fattoruso: Homework

The Uruguayan Fattoruso, known for his work with the group Opa, sings and accompanies himself on guitar, keyboards, and accordion on these 14 cuts. The solo numbers are rounded out by tunes where Fattoruso’s friends and loved ones contribute percussion and additional guitars and vocals. His style reflects various influences: the music of Chile, Argentina, … Read More “Hugo Fattoruso: Homework”

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Tito Puente: 50 Years of Swing

How is it that Tito Puente, a living jazz legend, isn’t mentioned in either the The New Grove Encyclopedia of Jazz or the Penguin Guide to Jazz? Jazz purists have marginalized or ignored too many Latin jazz artists. In the case of Tito Puente, the omission is unpardonable. This compilation celebrates Puente’s fifty years in … Read More “Tito Puente: 50 Years of Swing”

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