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Hilario Duran: Killer Tumbao

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Hilario Duran has served as a member of bands led by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval as well as saxophonist-flutist Jane Bunnett’s Spirits of Havana. Duran occupies the same rarefied air of Cuban pianists inhabited by Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Emiliano Salvador; these are artists who are as comfortable in the Afro-Cuban milieu as in a hard bop setting.

For this date, produced by Canadian trumpeter Larry Cramer, Duran is joined by the Cuban jazz all stars, which include esteemed percussion masters Changuito and Tata Guines, saxophonists German Velazco and Carlos Averhoff and the brilliant young drummer Dafnis Prieto. The reader is urged to familiarize themselves with these players, all of whom will become potent forces on the scene once the dread embargo is lifted. The cast also includes Canadians Bunnett, and Roberto Occhipinti on bass. The material ranges from a highly charged “Homage to Chano Pozo” to the extended “Song For Yemaya” to the smokin’ descarga (Cuban jam session) “Timba Mabo,” all delivered with controlled passion and heat and improvisational aplomb. Highly recommended.