Bobby Matos: Live at MOCA

Matos is a timbalero who possesses a sure hand at arrangements that combine an Afro-Cuban base with strong jazz components.

Michael Turre is a workhorse on Bobby Matos’s latest release, playing flute, alto, soprano, and tenor sax, clave, and cowbell. Turre, pianist Victor Cegarra, and conguero Robertito Melendez are the strongest soloists on this live date recorded at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art in July of 1998. The most traditional Afro-Cuban number is “Barbara Milagrosa,” with Turre on flute, and a piano solo by Cegarra that draws from any number of influential Cuban pianists, including Chucho Valdes. Matos’s timbales solo and the conga riffs of Melendez are a tasty addition. “Mambo Interlude” is an extended montuno vamp for Matos and pianist Cegarra. Other tunes include Horace Silver’s “The African Queen,” Wayne Shorter’s “Ana Maria,” and Bobby Hutcherson’s “Highway One.” These, plus “Blues Mambo for ‘Trane and Sphere” and “Jammin’ at the Crossroads of the World,” typify the straightahead Latin jazz character of this release.