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Ray Mantilla: The Connection

Jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms are a natural connection, one attractively celebrated in the work of Latin percussionist Ray Mantilla, who was born in the South Bronx in 1934. Here, we have a variety of performances by members of his septet, ranging from a jam between Mantilla and drummer Bill Elder (“Pieces”) to a folkloric flute-and-soprano saxophone one-chord riff (“El Carnivalito USA”) to a funky ensemble closer (“Blues for Ray”). In addition, the flute-and-soprano combination proves perfect for the lyricism and more sophisticated setting of Mantilla’s “Andean Fantasy.”

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