The subtitle of Madera Latino is “a Latin-jazz perspective on the music of Woody Shaw.” He was a groundbreaking innovator whose use of fourth intervals and pentatonic scales created a new trumpet language. Shaw also left behind a body of strong compositions. Most of them are hard-charging anthems, calls to arms.
The first thing you notice about Brian Lynch’s tribute album is how natural these tunes sound in a Latin rhythmic environment. Shaw often used Afro-Cuban elements in his music, but Lynch’s arrangements make the clave infusion complete. The second thing you notice, from the opener, “Zoltan,” is that Shaw’s music has new power. The energy generated by four percussionists (Obed Calvaire/Little Johnny Rivero/Pedrito Martinez/Anthony Carrillo) comes in jolts, like adrenaline. Most tracks have two percussionists and still kick ass. The third thing you notice is that Lynch decided to binge on trumpet players. No less than nine rotate through this album, two to four per tune. They are Lynch himself, Dave Douglas, Michael Rodriguez, Sean Jones, Diego Urcola, Josh Evans, Etienne Charles, Philip Dizack and Bryan Davis.