From the outset of Blueprints you feel as if you are on stage with the band, and believe me that’s a good thing. So much of Latin jazz has gone the way of slick over-production, and this outing by the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble brings back the bygone era of Latin big-band in a more intimate and unadulterated setting. Fronted by trumpeter/arranger Victor García and pianist/arranger Darwin Noguera, the group highlights both the power of the large-ensemble format as well as the crisp rhythm section. This recording on the Chicago Sessions label offers a wonderfully diverse repertoire of new and highly creative music, most of it penned by its co-leaders along with two selections by tenor saxophonist Juan Turros and another by Pablo Mayor, director of the Folklore Urbano group.
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