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Mark Weinstein: Latin Jazz Underground

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In the liner notes to Latin Jazz Underground, flutist Mark Weinstein explains that he aims to “show that you could really stretch the boundaries while holding onto the Afro-Cuban core.” He nails it. The album, a collaboration with pianist Aruán Ortiz, explores free and open improvisations, yet clave, samba harmony and folk elements permeate it.

These, too, are accomplished with great cunning. Drummer Gerald Cleaver and percussionist Román Diaz maintain the clave in the searching free sections of “Gregorio’s Mood,” and on both Ortiz’s “Tete’s Blues” and Sam Rivers’ “Mellifluous Cacophony,” they lay down interlocking beats that sound arrhythmic, even arbitrary, until a pattern gradually emerges. When Cleaver and Diaz, along with bassist Rashaan Carter, break free on “Open or Close,” an unidentified voice maintains the spirit with Afro-Cuban chants behind Weinstein’s cerebral lines.

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